No Mardi Gras parades in Biloxi in 2021

With COVID spikes across the nation and the start of carnival season just around the corner, whether to cancel or go through with Mardi Gras celebrations is a decision many organizations and cities have been debating.

Biloxi Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo’ Gilich announced Wednesday afternoon there will be no Mardi Gras parades in the City of Biloxi in 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Gilich said the city has spent months looking at the number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in South Mississippi.

Seeing no downward trend that would allow parades to safely take place in just about seven weeks, it was decided to cancel the potential super-spreader events. Kenny Holloway with the Gulf Coast Carnival Association said, “The numbers are not in our favor. We’ve waited as long as we could wait. And like the mayor said, there’s a lot of planning that goes on with this.”

Councilman Kenny Glavan said, “I will assure you, members of our krewe– leadership of our krewe, are completely heartbroken.”

Several Gulf Coast carnival associations have already decided to cancel their 2021 events, including North Bay Area Mardi Gras Association, Second Liners Mardi Gras Club, and the St. Paul Carnival Association. Now, Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum adds its name to that list, canceling their kids parade and their Twelfth night celebration. Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond said, “We always kick-off the Mardi Gras season, which is January 5th with our Twelfth Night celebration. Since we can’t get together this year. It’s always a big party with lots of people, we can’t do that this year, so we’re going to do it virtually at the museum.”

Halting Mardi Gras parades helps the Biloxi Police Department, which usually relies on extra help from other local departments during the active carnival season, make sure officers stay safe and healthy as well. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said, “The way this works is we loan officers out for events like Mardi Gras every year from all the cities around us. I don’t think we would’ve had that this year because most of them canceled and they probably canceled for a reason. They didn’t want their officers– at least part of it– out in that.”

This isn’t the first time Mardi Gras celebrations have been called off. In the last 112 years, carnival has been interrupted during times of war and the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Biloxi Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo’ Gilich said, “It should not be a surprise. It’s been done. But we’ll survive. Laissiez les bon temps rouler. Let the good times roll again!”

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