With the distressing news that came out yesterday, (Tuesday, November 17) that Mardi Gras parades would not be allowed to roll in New Orleans for Carnival season 2021, comes a realization that things are definitely not returning to normal as we wanted. We were hoping that the coronavirus pandemic and all that has changed because of it, would somehow have slowed down by 2021. We were mistaken.

But if you thought this was the first time Mardi Gras plans have changed, and parades have been canceled, you were wrong. I found a fascinating article from WWL TV in New Orleans that tells the history of Carnival parades, and how many times they have not rolled in 163 years. You might be surprised to know that at least 13 times during the modern Mardi Gras era parades have been canceled.

Some of the crises that caused cancellations include a huge police strike in 1979 that caused the krewes of Rex, Zulu and Comus to cancel parades on Mardi Gras day, and at least 16 other krewes to either cancel or move parades to the suburbs of Slidell, Kenner, Chalmette and Gretna. You can see vintage WWL footage of the event in the video below.

Other times that parades were canceled include a yellow fever epidemic in 1879, the Civil War, from 1862-1865, WWI, and WWII, where parades were canceled in 1918 and 1919, and 1942-1945, and the Korean War in 1951. And "political unrest" was the reason given for parade cancellations in 1874. Whew! This doesn't actually make me feel any better, but at least we know that there were good reasons behind the cancellations.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell wrote this on her Facebook page yesterday '"With COVID-19 spreading, we need to modify carnival season so it's safe for everyone. We can do this together!"

Read more about the history of Mardi Gras parade cancellations from WWL. As I said, fascinating.


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