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Mardi Gras 2021 – The Rundown
With February fast approaching, the question on many people’s minds seems to be “is Mardi Gras 2021 canceled?”
The answer you may be looking for is less black and white than that. Latoya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans recently announced that the parades that fill the streets every year at this time are not being permitted to run. Despite this recent development, the spirit of Carnival Season is alive and well. Many locals and float crews have taken to the residential areas to create “house floats” in place of the traditional moving rafts. Not all is lost if you’re thinking of celebrating this famous NOLA holiday, and here is what you can expect from the modified Mardi-Gras 2021.
In a public announcement made by the city’s mayor, parades are prohibited to run this year due to the pandemic. New Orleans has recently moved to Phase Two restrictions, limiting restaurant’s capacities to 50% and allowing bars to serve to-go and outdoor area service. Despite the inability to hop between watering holes as freely as previous years, patrons can still enjoy the spirit of Mardi Gras by indulging in patio and courtyard beverages, as well as participating in this unique new spin on Mardi Gras floats which usually grace the streets.
These new ways to commemorate this historic occasion include grabbing a famous frozen daiquiri and heading out on a self-guided scavenger hunt around the city to check out the new house floats. These jaw-dropping creations are reviving the carnival vibes while bringing a fresh feel to the already impressive iconic festival. You can find homes covered in decorations ranging from giant hand-painted flora and fauna to full-blown sculptures that stand among the idyllic balconies. While there is no set route that will take you through every adorned property, you can indulge in a treasure hunt in the residential areas to seek out all the breathtaking creations.
If you’re planning to visit New Orleans to get your Mardi-Gras 2021 fix, you can still fill your days with outdoor bar-hopping, where you can sip famous NOLA cocktails in the stunning courtyards that dot the city or take in a bar crawl before heading out to find your favorite “floats.” Restaurants are still allowing patrons to dine in at lower capacities, and bars that hold food licenses can still serve hungry and thirsty diners on patios and in outside seating areas.
The city is working to ensure it maintains a socially responsible stance on all celebrations. Masks are required in public places, and social distancing is still highly encouraged and in some areas enforced. The Health Department also noted that gatherings have been limited to 10 people when inside and up to 25 outdoors.
The Carnival Season has technically been going on for the last couple of weeks, but Madi-Gras 2021 will head into full swing this coming weekend and end in a climatic two-day extravaganza on February 15 & 16. Monday the fifteenth, commonly known as Lundi-Gras, and Fat Tuesday the sixteenth normally see thousands of visitors taking to the streets to watch the parades and sip drinks bigger than their heads while they festoon one another with colorful party beads. This year you can still tick most of the festival’s boxes, minus the parades. The bead-sharing with strangers might also be a no go when you take social distancing rules into consideration, but groups traveling together can still partake.
Though the general feel of debauchery that goes hand in hand with this epic event might be slightly muted, there are still numerous ways to get in the jamboree spirit while visiting. Party tours are still allowed to run with limited capacity under Phase Two, meaning you have ample opportunity to explore the city and get a little sideways before striking out on your own. Crawl New Orleans takes you to some of the most well-known haunts in the city and will leave you feeling like Mardi Gras 2021 hasn’t changed one little bit. Pack those purple, green, and gold clothes and grab that bag of party beads because there is still plenty to celebrate in the Big Easy.
Things to do in New Orleans Mardi Gras 2021