Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome held a meeting Friday with community stakeholders, including parade organizers and medical field members to discuss the upcoming modified 2021 Mardi Gras celebration amid COVID-19.
“Since March, residents in our city have made adjustments to their daily habits and routines due to the coronavirus pandemic – especially during beloved holidays,” Broome said.
Broome said that parade organizers are welcome “to propose events where participants can stay socially distanced and safe.” There remains uncertainty surrounding the status of COVID-19 in early February. Broome said Baton Rouge residents still must take all necessary precautions “to protect our community, our residents and our economy.”
“Currently the state’s Phase 3 order is in effect until December 4th,” Broome said. “It would be prudent to wait until then to learn if an extended order would affect modified events during Mardi Gras.”
President of the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade, Robert King, said that Mardi Gras is determined by what the government allows parade krewes to do. King said that some of the precautions the government wants participants to partake in are practicing social distancing, wearing masks and limiting the amount of people on floats.
"[The government wants to] just basically control it and change it and what it is," King said. "I mean, Spanish Town is a very loose, laid back type of parade where people just have a great time. It'll be a lot different, if we're allowed to have it."
Although the upcoming Mardi Gras will be different from prior years, King has hope that the celebration will still go on in February compared to New Orleans, where the city's mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the cancelling of Mardi Gras parades this upcoming year.
Cantrell announced Nov. 16 on her website that parades will not be permitted during the 2021 Mardi Gras season.
"The City of New Orleans cannot cancel Mardi Gras because it is a religious holiday, however we will not be able to celebrate the Holiday this year as we have in the past," the website read.
King said that Broome recognizes the economic impacts of Mardi Gras on the city. King hopes to see Mardi Gras next year.
"I'm hoping that it looks like everybody out having a good time enjoying life," King said. "Smiling, laughing, and beads being thrown, stuffed animals and some sense of normalcy in life.