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Pandemic-Era Mardi Gras Lack Crowds, But Plenty of Cake

2021-01-08 15:49:02

A subdued carnival season kicked off Wednesday after the coronavirus pandemic ended the crowd-heavy balls and street parades that draw thousands of people to the city every year.

The Mardi Gras season always starts on January 6 and ends on Fat Tuesday, which falls on February 16 this year. The season is usually marked by extravagant balls and parades where costumed riders throw trinkets at the throngs of people caught along the parade routes. .

The corona virus has put an end to those big events. But that hasn't stopped notoriously creative New Orleanians from coming up with socially distant ways to celebrate.

The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc is a club that annually pays tribute to the fallen French hero with a parade through the French Quarter during the official start of the Carnival season. This year the krewe organized a & # 39; Tableaux de Jeanne d & # 39; Arc & # 39; where spectators pass by several & # 39; tableaux & # 39; reason – a French term for & # 39; living images & # 39; – including stations of costumed revelers sparring like knights, sharpening their swords and partying over a huge fireplace with a pig in the background.

"Life as usual is over, so we had to look for other ways to do things this year," said Antoinette de Alteriis, one of the club's captains.

The Phunny Phorty Phellows, a group that usually meets on January 6 to mark the start of the season with a costumed party in a street car, also changed their plans. Usually throngs of people gather at the facility where the tram starts its journey to wave the group away, but this year people were asked to disperse along the road car route and watch from there.

But people can still eat cake, king cake that is. The sweet cakes, which are decorated with the official Carnival colors of purple, green and gold, are not allowed to be eaten until January 6.

In Mobile, Alabama, dozens of parades, balls and other events have also been canceled. The city on the Gulf of Mexico calls itself the birthplace of Mardi Gras since the celebrations began there a few years earlier than in New Orleans.

Coastal Alabama usually starts its observations later in January than New Orleans, meaning the current coronavirus bump could subside by the time events were to begin. But several organizations began announcing cancellations last month to protect the health of members and revelers.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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