Will Mardi Gras Parades Return to the Streets of Louisiana in 2022?
Will Louisiana miss another year of 'Letting the Good Times Roll' in 2022? Good question, because revelers statewide want to know!
Remember all the way back to Mardi Gras 2020? There were reports of hundreds of guests at a Mardi Gras bal in southwest Louisiana getting sick with flu-like symptoms. That was before we really knew about COVID-19. Even then, outlets like the Washington Post thought the flu itself was a bigger threat than coronavirus. Then came March 9, 2020, when the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Louisiana. Even then, most of us shrugged our shoulders and went our merry way. To be fair, we had no idea what we were facing. Airports were still full and Disney was still packed. Oh, what a difference 18-months makes!
After (mostly) missing the 2021 Mardi Gras season, Louisiana krewes were more than ready to reveal their new royalty this summer for the coming 2022 Mardi Gras season with hopes we'd get back to 'normal.' Yesterday, we got the news that for the first time in over two months, hospitalizations for COVID-19 had dropped below a thousand for the state. Today, Louisiana Governor Edwards extended our public health emergency declaration and the statewide indoor mask mandate. Not surprising, especially considering Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas and the related recovery efforts. But what about Mardi Gras? It takes a lot of time and money to plan parades and grand bals!
According to the Louisiana Radio Network, if New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell has her way, members of Mardi Gras krewes in her city will have to be vaccinated. She's been encouraging the Mardi Gras advisory council to make it so. Let's face it, if they don't do what she wants, she can make sure they don't get the permits they need to roll and there are roughly 40,000 Mardi Gras krewe members in NOLA alone.
The next Mardi Gras season kicks off January 6, 2022, with 12th Night and it's a short one with Fat Tuesday falling on March 1st, 2022. If officials were to mandate vaccinations for krewe members, it would give people plenty of time to take the shot, but what about the flip side? Mardi Gras is funded by the members. Every single bead and doubloon that hits the pavement in Louisiana is paid for by private citizens and they're a gift to the community. Yes, you get a fun trinket personally, but as a whole, it fuels the local economy with hotel stays, meals in restaurants, food from grocery stores for tailgating, gas in cars to get to the events, etc... So, what's fair? Each city in Louisiana that hosts Mardi Gras events is going to have to take a hard look at what their citizens want. Better start making your opinions known now...