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New Orleans cancels Mardi Gras parades because of COVID

Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. (JONATHAN BACHMAN/Getty Images/TNS)

Fat Tuesday will be a little skinnier this year.

New Orleans has canceled all 2021 Mardi Gras parades in the city because of the continued spread of coronavirus, the mayor’s office announced Tuesday.

Mardi Gras itself won’t be canceled, but the city’s festivities will be curtailed without any parades.

“With COVID-19 cases increasing around the country, we will have to modify how to observe carnival season to be safe for everyone,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office said in a statement. “We are surrounded by hot spots and we don’t know what the future holds in store for us.”

Even without parades, Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street will remain open, and the city will still allow visitors.

Coronavirus has spread rapidly in Orleans Parish in recent weeks, as it has in much of the world. Tuesday, the parish reported 112 new cases, in line with its week-long average. Still, Orleans has reported fewer cases per capita than surrounding parishes.

Mardi Gras, which falls on Feb. 16, 2021, has been in the COVID crosshairs for months, with Cantrell speculating as early as April 2020 that 2021\u2032s celebration might be adjusted.

Last year’s celebrations were blamed in part for the rapid spread of the virus in the city and surrounding areas.

More than 245,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins, including 644 people in Orleans Parish.


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