For most people around the world, Mardi Gras is just a regular Tuesday, but in New Orleans it is so much more.
Any other year, people from all over the world flock to the streets of New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. This year would be no different if it weren't for the big C: coronavirus.
The mayor of New Orleans, Latoya Cantrell, announced in November that carnival season would be canceled to fit social distancing rules. The thing is, nothing is ever really “canceled” in New Orleans. The people of this city adapt to hard times unlike any other.
When New Orleanians got word that parades would not be permitted to roll, they put their thinking caps on and became determined to find a safe way to still recognize such a joyous occasion for the city.
For those who are not from New Orleans, Mardi Gras is one of the greatest sources of revenue for businesses and restaurants all year long. Aside from the economic benefits, it is also a time of great fun and helps create a sense of community. The music, decorations, food and memories that come with it are truly one of a kind.
Instead of letting this year pass without any form of celebration, New Orleans rose to the occasion. Residents that live on the famous St. Charles Avenue decided to decorate their homes as parade floats. Some even hired professional float decorating companies to provide the Mardi Gras economy with some source of income during these hard times.
Some houses have opted for simple purple, green and gold decorations; others have themes such as dinosaurs or the circus. People can either drive down the street or walk from house to house to get the parade effect.
The effort New Orleanians have put into this project in order to give people something to celebrate is remarkable, and it is definitely a sight to see.
Another great example of citizens finding ways to spread the Mardi Gras spirit is "Floats in the Oaks," a twist on the famous Christmas in the Oaks, which sees City Park decorated with Christmas lights each year throughout the holiday season.
After this past Christmas, the park switched gears into Mardi Gras and invited every krewe to set up a float along the driving route. Starting last Thursday and going through Mardi Gras day, you can drive through City Park and see some of your favorite floats while also hearing and seeing some of the famous Mardi Gras bands and marching groups.
Both of these ideas are perfect demonstrations of what the city of New Orleans stands for. The people in this city try to help others in ways big and small. The spirit of helpfulness is often overlooked. It is something that we could all use a little more of in today's world.
The people of New Orleans do not let anybody, or anything, rain on their parade.
The losses that this city — the economy and the people — will take from Mardi Gras being canceled are immense. We MUST help each other in every way we can right now.
One way to do this is by not letting the spirit and joy of Mardi Gras die, but instead spreading hope and using the spirit as a reminder that better times lie ahead.
Elizabeth Crochet is a 19-year-old political communication sophomore from New Orleans.