'Running with it': Spanish Town Mardi Gras moving forward with plans for parade, ball
BATON ROUGE - Spanish Town Mardi Gras board President Robert King's year revolves around everything pink. This most uncertain of years has not changed that.
"We're in a holding pattern, but we're not in a holding pattern," King said. "We're proceeding like it's a regular year, even though it's not."
King says plans are moving forward for both the ball and parade.
"We've got the River Center lined up. We've got two bands lined up," King said. "We are planning on running with it."
The parade is entering its 41st year has a scheduled roll date of Feb. 13, with the ball slated for Jan. 30. King said contingency plans of 25, 33, and 50 percent of the events' typical sizes are all possibilities. That question may not be resolved for a while.
"We can go as late as December," King said.
If the parade rolls and the ball is held, some of the normal COVID-19 precautions might be necessary, King said.
"If people have to wear masks for the parade, I mean they've been wearing them for months," King said. "Plus it's Mardi Gras [and] you wear a mask."
Meetings with city-parish officials lie ahead, and some discussions have already started.
"We've had some conversations with people that are necessary, concerning permits," King said. "They all know every year we're going to come looking for a permit."
It's not just King's krewe or other groups in Baton Rouge that are waiting on official word. Businesses that provide the Mardi Gras must-haves are also on pins and needles.
"I normally buy four to five times what I bought this year," Nelson Maddox of Parties Start Here said. "I truly ran scared."
Maddox is wary ahead of Mardi Gras season. At this point in the year, he'd typically start getting calls for orders. That hasn't happened this year.
If parades and balls get the green light, Maddox has a warning for those coming to find the perfect throws.
"We will not have as much product this year as we normally have," Maddox said. "My advice this year is if people think they're going to have a parade would be to buy early and take it with you."
With a lot still to sort it out, Spanish Town appears poised to roll even if that looks a bit different.
King says the city needs it.
"This has been a bad year for a lot of people," King said. "We need to put the smiles out there and make people laugh. That's something that's missing right now."
Spanish Town Mardi Gras' board members meet Wednesday to continue planning and contingency plan discussions.