“Lay-say le bon tom roo-lay” – Let The Good Times Roll
New Orleans’ restaurant and bar industry came to a halt after Mardi Gras last year. Carnival season kicks off on January 6 and runs anywhere from five to eight weeks. Small, quirky neighborhood parades roll through the city’s streets, catching unaware visitors in their path.
In November 2020, officials faced the reality that despite expectations, circumstances locally and beyond had not improved enough to approach Carnival season as usual. In 2021, Fat Tuesday falls on February 16, making it a short Carnival season. There are no parades, events, or balls, and unofficial house parties are restricted to current gathering limits.
New Orleans neighborhood’s are dotted with decor normally reserved for tractor-pulled floats in major parades. With 3,000 participants, the newly formed Krewe of House Floats has helped solidify ‘Yardi Gras’.
New Orleans bars and restaurants will be closed from Friday, February 12, through the morning of Ash Wednesday, February 17. Bakers are finding success with king cake pop-ups, and Mardi Gras-themed food and drink specials abound.
City officials announced last week that bars, even those with temporary restaurant permits, can’t open for curbside and outdoor service, curtailing the city’s famous street drinking. What will the city feel without the sense of carefree hospitality and close community that, on a cellular level, seems to make New Orleans so immediately distinguishable from everywhere else.