Local officials and Mardi Gras krewes are “cautiously optimistic” that parades will roll as planned this year despite COVID-19 concerns.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome says it’s too early to say if the latest surge of the omicron variant will force cancellation of Mardi Gras balls and parades.
“We are continuing to promote Mardi Gras as if it’s going to occur,” says Visit Baton Rouge President and CEO Paul Arrigo.
While Mardi Gras obviously isn’t as big a draw for Baton Rouge as for New Orleans and some other cities, it’s a time when many locals host out-of-town friends and family, Arrigo says. That’s particularly true for the Spanish Town parade “because it’s unusual,” he adds.
Melanie Uzee, a member of the all-women Krewe of Artemis, says her group has received its permit for its Feb. 18 parade in downtown Baton Rouge and is proceeding as normal. This would be the 19th parade and 20th anniversary for Artemis, she says.
Byron Washington says his Krewe of Oshun likewise is planning to roll as scheduled Feb. 19, with the awareness that adjustments may become necessary. Oshun rolled for the first time in 2020, marking the first Mardi Gras parade held in north Baton Rouge.