Closed Bars, Barricaded Bourbon Street – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Coronavirus-related restrictions on Bourbon Street access, shutters, and cold weather were expected to prevent what the city typically covets at the end of the Carnival season – streets and shops full of night owls.
Parades and parties on Carnival (Fat Tuesday) and the days leading up to annual Lent usually draw more than a million people to the streets.
But the parades have been canceled and Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently ordered bars to close. Even bars that were allowed to operate as restaurants with “conditional” food permits were closed for five days beginning on Friday. Take-away drinks in go-cups are also prohibited – you no longer have to stroll through the French Quarter with a drink in hand.
Bourbon Street was to be closed to automobile and pedestrian traffic at 7 a.m. Access was only allowed to residents, managers and employees, hotel guests and restaurant guests.
Various estimates have shown that hotels are likely to be between a third and more than half full – well below the 90% -plus bookings seen in most years. And city and state officials almost warned tourists away.
“If people think they are going to come to Louisiana or New Orleans somewhere and get involved in activities they had before the pandemic, then they are wrong and frankly they are not welcome here to do so,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards said at a recent press conference.
Freezing temperatures or temperatures close to freezing were included in Tuesday’s forecast.
If the crowd control measures work, the scene will stand in contrast to last year’s Mardi Gras crowds, later blamed for an early COVID-19 outbreak in Louisiana.
That year, parades in Mobile, Alabama, where the country’s oldest Mardi Gras celebrations take place, were also canceled. Bars were not planned to close there, but some streets were due to be closed on Tuesday to control traffic and allow more outdoor seating and service in restaurants and bars.