Yes, You Can Believe The Hype.
by Kenneth Cooper
Flashback, early 2020: we should’ve known something was wrong. It was like the universe was trying to tell us something. Identical freak accidents killed two people at two different parades. As strong favorites, the Saints lost in the first round of a playoff game — in the Dome no less. But while the Coronavirus cases were building around the country, we partied on, defiantly declaring ourselves untouchable.
You know how we roll. We teach our children how to suck the intestines out of dead crawfish heads. The indigestible flames with 190 octane, flavored syrup, and cheap food coloring – aka a daiquiri? Make it a large to go please. We have bodies built to dilute the grease and cholesterol from cold Popeye’s fried chicken at 8 o’clock the next morning to recuperate. Southern immunity, we said. The Coronavirus ain’t got nothing on us.
Fast forward. Here we are 9 months later. 200,000 cases statewide, about 15,000 here in the city, and Mardi Gras cancelled in New Orleans. Contrary to popular opinion, the Coronavirus definitely has something on us.
Since there isn’t going to be a Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Saints and the Mayor have to guarantee us a Super Bowl, then deliver one. It’s the least they can do. We’ve suffered enough. But then we’d have to have a parade, and then that’d be cancelled. People all around are searching for alternatives.
Word from the suggestion box:
“Maybe we can have community parades.”
“Community parades? What the hell is that? Mini super spreaders?”
“No, kids can parade up the block while people watch from their porches.”
“That’s just called sending your kids outside to play.”
“Yeah, but during Mardi Gras we can call it a parade.”
All is not lost though. Canceling Mardi Gras is actually very good for some people. For example…
The biggest winner of Mardi Gras being canceled in New Orleans
You know the story — Black Lives don’t Matter and allegedly how neither did the one that was killed by a float during last year’s parade. How when pressed for an apology (about the black lives) the krewe captain/founder offered a basic response of, “I’m all out of you-know-whats-to give.” The mass departures of krewe members and marching bands that followed. The final result -Nyx, in all of its All Lives Matter glory, was set to roll down St. Charles with the flair of a Metairie parade. The biggest question would’ve been would black people still beg for cups and beads, kneel in protest, turn their backs, or simply pack up their chairs and ladders and go home. Now that Mardi Gras in New Orleans is canceled, Nyx gets a year to let this blow over. They can hope of time turning the controversy into a matter of bygones being bygones.
The next biggest winner of Mardi Gras being canceled in New Orleans
The last time Mardi Gras was cancelled was 1979. And it was because the NOPD was on strike. This year due to budget cuts and furloughs there might not have even been enough police on duty to actually police a parade. You know how that story would’ve went. Any robbery, murder, or fight that broke out over ladders or beads would’ve been blamed on a lack of police presence and the mayor cutting the department funding by not re-opening the city up fast enough after the Coronavirus numbers went down. Like Nyx, that potential controversy is something the mayor and NOPD won’t have to worry about.
There are plenty of losers though
Some people are suffering serious economic losses though — like all those specialty bead shops that justify their existence during Mardi Gras season. Gone will be the revenue from riders dumping hundreds or even thousands of dollars on stuff to throw off of floats. Some may go the route of those permanently closed restaurants that went out of business because of the Coronavirus. Bars and restaurants who are already struggling will not get the huge boost from crowds along parade routes. Even the street vendors who sell water and beer along the parade routes will lose income.
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But the real winners are all of us. The mayor made the right call. And she made it early enough for the krewes to adapt. If they want to parade on the Northshore, then so be it. They have that option. But the promised 2nd wave of the virus is in full effect. There’s no responsible way to encourage tourists from all over to come cram themselves on our city streets. That is literally inviting or importing the virus to town.
Still, a few questions remain: are we going to get the day off come Fat Tuesday? Will our bosses actually require us to work? Or will they pay us to stay home, eat king cake, and watch our kids parade up the street in a procession. No word yet. Maybe we should check the FAQ section of the mayor’s website for direction.