MOIBLE, Ala. (WALA) – As New Orleans pulls the plug on its 2021 Mardi Gras season, parading in Mobile is in serious jeopardy, a city source told FOX10 News.
The source cited COVID-19, which prompted New Orleans on Tuesday to cancel its parades for 2021.
“The question is parading, and the crowds. … The city is proceeding as if it will happen, but looking at what COIVD is doing in the colder climates already, it doesn’t look good,” the source said.
Also on Tuesday, the Order of LaShe’s became the latest in a growing number of organizations to bow out of the 2021 Carnival season. The group announced it will not parade or a hold a ball, citing the financial cost and burden of complying with capacity restrictions at Mardi Gras ball venues and on floats.
“Our number one priority is our member’s and guests’ safety,” the organization said in a statement. “We are looking forward to coming back strong in 2022!”
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is keeping the city’s options open, pushing ahead with signing contacts for things like portable toilets in order preserve the ability to have parades if that proves possible.
That would be good news for vendors who rely on the Mardi Gras revenue. Artious “Smac” Walker, who has set up a food truck on Dauphin Street the past few years during Mardi Gras, said it remains to be seen what kind of business he will do this year – if any.
“We’re very concerned. I mean, with Smac’s Shack, Mardi Gras is, of course, our biggest event of the year,” he told FOX10 News. “We’re coming off the heels of the fair, where we didn’t do the type of numbers that we did last year for us. Us, like many food trucks and restaurants, we’re mainly in survival mode. Just trying to maintain a lifestyle.”
Walker said he believes an outdoor event like Mardi Gras parades can be done safely.
“Everyone’s close for parade time but, you know, the goal is to mask up and, you know, stay away from each other. I think that’s more than achievable, you know, in an outdoor atmosphere. I mean, we’re outside now. That’s where the parades are.”
But residents like Amy Adams said it may be just as well that the city skip a year with novel coronavirus cases on the rise.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be safe, no matter what. I think the organizations are making the right decision by canceling it,” she said. “There’s just gonna be too many people; people from out of state people not wanting to wear masks, people drinking. It’s just in the long game. I don't think it’s worth it.”
It remains to be seen if Mardi Gras will happen in Mobile. But if it does, it surely will be a Carnival unlike any other.
FOX10 News anchor Byron Day contributed to this report.