Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Mardi Gras shop owner fears cancellations could put him out of business in 2021

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BATON ROUGE - Parties Start Here, a large Mardi Gras supply store in Baton Rouge,
has customers all over the state. But with many of next year's celebrations being canceled, the store it bracing for a big hit.

"I wired my last money to China yesterday. All of my product for the parade season is here," said Nelson Maddox, owner of the business.

The big warehouse-style store has everything you want for Mardi Gras, with boxes of beads stacked to ceiling. The parade season makes up 70 percent of the store's business.

"We have roughly 30-square feet of storage space," Maddox said.

But the business owner is paying close attention to what happens in Baton Rouge this coming Mardi Gras season. Maddox has been in the Mardi Gras sales business for more than 30 years, and he's now worried that the pandemic could make 2020 his last.

"It could very easily shut this business down," Maddox said. "Now this coming year, if we have no Mardi Gras or no St. Patrick's Day, there's not money in the bank," Maddox said.

The mayor's office said Friday it will likely be weeks until East Baton Rouge makes any major decision on changes to Mardi Gras celebrations.


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