Mardi Gras muted: Fat Tuesday celebrations changed during COVID-19 pandemic

NEW ORLEANS — Mardi Gras 2021 looks a lot different from years past due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the celebrations will continue, just in a muted manner.

>> Read more trending news

Bars are closed, parades are canceled and Bourbon Street is blocked to costumed revelers who usually pack the French Quarter, The Associated Press reported.

The pre-Lent parties that are part of the culture of New Orleans have evolved for 2021 after the same celebrations held last year are believed to have contributed to making Louisiana a COVID-19 hot spot at the start of the pandemic.

One senior at Warren Easton Charter High School wanted to march with his school’s band one last Mardi Gras before graduation.

“I think everybody looks forward to the last year of marching because I wanted to go [out] with a bang. But things happen,” Elvin King III told the AP.

Elvin King III a senior at Warren Easton High and member of their marching band, which will not march because parades are cancelled, poses for a portrait in front of his home in New Orleans, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. New Orleans' annual pre-Lenten Mardi Gras celebration is muted this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Parades canceled. Bars closed. Crowds suppressed. Mardi Gras joy is muted this year in New Orleans as authorities seek to stifle the coronavirus's spread. And it's a blow to the tradition-bound city's party-loving soul.

Another change, there will be no Rex crowned this year, a tradition that names a prominent New Orleans man as King of Carnival.

This isn’t the first time the parades have been changed. They were canceled or moved in 1979 because of a police strike. In 2006, Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath forced the revelry to be shortened, the AP reported.

While parades won’t roll down the streets, the people can still go see float-like displays as NOLA homes are decorated as “house floats.” There will also be livestreams of virtual celebrations on nola.com.

More coronavirus pandemic coverage:

>> Coronavirus vaccines: CDC separates myths from facts

>> Coronavirus: Should we be wearing two masks when we go out in public?

>> Coronavirus: How long between exposure to the virus and the start of symptoms?

>> What are your chances of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19? This tool will tell you

>> Wash your masks: How to clean a cloth face covering

>> Fact check: Will masks lower the oxygen level, raise the carbon dioxide in your blood?

>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does