Close on the heels of news that official parades would roll in New Orleans this Halloween season for the first time since 2020, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said this week that the city is working to ensure Mardi Gras 2022 happens.
During a meeting with her Mardi Gras Advisory Council Thursday evening, Mayor Cantrell and New Orleans Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno addressed the likelihood of an official Carnival 2022, hinting at possible COVID rules for both krewes and tourists and saying they will use the upcoming Krewe of Boo parade to gauge impact on COVID numbers in the city. The mayor announced in November 2020 that parades would not roll in the city during Carnival 2021, the first time parades wouldn’t roll in 42 years. Last week, Cantrell confirmed that Krewe of Boo would be allowed to roll this year on October 23 after cancelling its 2020 event, and said that it would help inform the potential return of parades for Mardi Gras 2022.
Ultimately, whether or not there is a repeat of 2021’s Yardi Gras is likely to come down to virus numbers; even if plans are formalized soon, there is always the chance of a cancellation closer to the February-March timeline should COVID cases tick back up, as led to the cancellation of most of the city’s fall festivals. Dr. Avegno said Thursday that while the city’s COVID numbers are currently trending in the right direction after a brutal fourth surge spurred by the delta variant, “It’s really hard to change parade characteristics to make Mardi Gras a low risk event.”
At the meeting Thursday, Cantrell reportedly hinted at the possibility of requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test for visitors to the city during Mardi Gras without elaborating — it’s unclear how that could be executed, given the decentralized and weeks-long nature of Mardi Gras celebrations. She did, however, clearly state that should official parades happen in 2022, float riders and marching krewe members will be required to wear masks, and be vaccinated or have a negative COVID test.
“We are coming at this with the spirit of wanting to have Carnival Season roll in 2022, Cantrell said. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure that happens.”
Krewe of Boo will roll through the French Quarter on October 23 at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Krewe of Krampus and Day of the Dead parades on October 30 and November 2, respectively.