Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday 2021: Bars Closed and Bourbon Street Barricaded

Parades and parties would normally bring a million people in the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, but COVID-19 and frigid weather changed that.

But parades were canceled and Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently ordered bars closed. Even bars that had been allowed to operate as restaurants with “conditional” food permits were shuttered for five days that began Friday. Take-out drinks in “go-cups” also are forbidden — no more strolling the French Quarter with a drink in hand.

“If people think they’re going to come to Louisiana, anywhere, or New Orleans and engage in the kind of activities they would have pre-pandemic then they are mistaken and quite frankly they are not welcome here to do that,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a recent news conference.

This year, it’s all about House Floats. The house floats movement was born on Nov. 17, 2020, the same day the city announced there would be no parades during the upcoming Carnival season due to the coronavirus. There are now over 3,000 house floats, mainly in the New Orleans area, but also showing up in 40 other states. The movement has inspired a mini-economic boost to artists and musicians.