IT’S MARDI GRAS 2021, the GLOBAL PANDEMIC has FAT TUESDAY looking QUITE DIFFERENT from the past!
Coronavirus-related limits on access to Bourbon Street, shuttered bars and frigid weather all were expected to prevent what the city usually craves at the end of Mardi Gras season — streets and businesses jam-packed with revelers.
Parades and parties on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and the days leading up to the annual pre-Lenten bash usually draw more than a million people to the streets.
But parades were canceled and Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently ordered bars closed. Even bars that had been allowed to operate as restaurants with “conditional” food permits were shuttered for five days that began Friday. Take-out drinks in “go-cups” also are forbidden — no more strolling the French Quarter with a drink in hand.
Bourbon Street was to be blocked to automobile and foot traffic at 7 a.m., with access limited to residents, business managers and employees, hotel guests and restaurant patrons.
Various estimates showed hotels were likely to be anywhere from one-third to more than half full — far below the 90%-plus bookings of most years. And city and state officials all but warned tourists away.
“If people think they’re going to come to Louisiana, anywhere, or New Orleans and engage in the kind of activities they would have pre-pandemic then they are mistaken and quite frankly they are not welcome here to do that,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a recent news conference.
Freezing or near-freezing temperatures were in the Tuesday forecast. BUT THE SHOW MUST GO ON!!
All around New Orleans and across the world thousands of houses are being decorated as Mardi Gras floats after the coronavirus pandemic canceled crowded parades for the 2021 Carnival season.
Houses have been decorated around the city about two weeks before Fat Tuesday, which is TODAY, Feb. 16 .
The “house float” movement started almost as soon as a New Orleans spokesman announced Nov. 17 that parades were off.
That morning, Megan Joy Boudreaux posted what she later called a silly Twitter joke: “We’re doing this. Turn your house into a float and throw all the beads from your attic at your neighbors walking by.”
But the more she thought about it, the more she liked it. She started a Facebook group, the Krewe of House Floats, expecting a few friends and neighbors to join. The numbers rose. Thirty-nine subgroups evolved to discuss neighborhood plans.
By Carnival season’s official start Jan. 6, the group had more than 9,000 members, including out-of-state “expats.”
Devin DeWulf, who already had started two pandemic charities as head of the Krewe of Red Beans walking club, kicked the house float idea up a few notches at the suggestion of Caroline Thomas, a professional float designer. Their “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist” crowdfunded lotteries collected enough money to put crews to work decorating 11 houses, plus commissioned work at two more houses and seven businesses.
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Fat Tuesday is also called Shrove Tuesday, a name that comes from the practice of shriving—purifying oneself through confession—prior to Lent.For many Christians, Shrove Tuesday is a time to receive penance and absolution. It is the last day to finish up the eggs, milk, and fat that are forbidden during the 40-day Lenten fast, which begins the next day (Ash Wednesday).While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and part of eastern Texas.Check out some of my FAVE Mardi Gras snaps from 2019…..2020..