New Orleans’ pandemic Mardi Gras celebrations involve socially distant events, king cake


Carnival in New Orleans will be a bit quieter than usual this year because of the pandemic, but revelers are still finding safe ways to celebrate. 

The festival season — which runs from Jan. 6 through Fat Tuesday — typically brings thousands of people to New Orleans to attend balls and join large crowds to watch parades throughout the city.

Those large events have been canceled because of the coronavirus, but some groups in New Orleans will still be enjoying Mardi Gras from a safe social distance. 

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One club, the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc is holding a “Tableaux de Jeanne d’Arc,” where viewers can drive past various live performances of costumed club members sparring as knights sharpen their swords and feast at a fireplace with a pig roasting in the background. 

A confetti canon is launched at the Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc drive-thru parade in Behrman Memorial Park in Algiers for the start of Twelfth Night in New Orleans on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

A confetti canon is launched at the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc drive-thru parade in Behrman Memorial Park in Algiers for the start of Twelfth Night in New Orleans on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

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Typically, the club hosts a parade through the French Quarter to honor Joan of Arc as the official start of the Carnival season.

“Life as usual is gone, so we had to look for different ways of doing things this year,” Antoinette de Alteriis, one of the club’s captains, said. 

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Another group, the Phunny Phorty Phellows, typically begins the Carnival season with a costumed party on a street car on Jan. 6. 

Peggy Scott Laborde and members of the Krewe of Oak toast Carnival as the Phunny Phorty Phellows start their 40th anniversary streetcar ride ushering in Carnival at the Willow Street car barn in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (David Grunfeld/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

Peggy Scott Laborde and members of the Krewe of Oak toast Carnival as the Phunny Phorty Phellows start their 40th anniversary streetcar ride ushering in Carnival at the Willow Street car barn in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (David Grunfeld/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

Usually, groups of people gather at the street car’s starting point to see the party off on its route throughout the city, but this year, the group asked people to watch the street car along its route instead of all in one place.

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The one thing that hasn’t changed this year is that people can still eat king cake, the traditional Carnival cake decorated in purple, green and gold. 

The sweet cake is only supposed to be eaten starting on Jan. 6. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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