New Orleans Isn't Canceling Mardi Gras, but It Will Be Much Quieter in 2021

"We will not be able to celebrate the Holiday this year as we have in the past.”

New Orleans's Mardi Gras celebration will definitely look a bit different in 2021, but thankfully the festivities aren't completely off.

Next year, the holiday — also known as "Fat Tuesday" — will take place on Feb 16. Due to the fact that it's a religious holiday, it won't be canceled entirely, but parades and mass gatherings that New Orleans is famous for won't be happening.

"We will not be able to celebrate the Holiday this year as we have in the past," the mayor's website read, but depending on what COVID-19 restrictions look like in February, there may still be some small parties allowed in New Orleans.

"I want to be very clear. Mardi Gras 2021 is not canceled," communications director for Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Beau Tidwell, said at a press conference this week, CNN reported on Tuesday. "It is going to look different. The mayor has been very consistent about saying that at every stage."

Some Mardi Gras Krewes may hold their traditional Balls, with COVID-19 health modifications. Because the Balls are invite-only, attendance will be strictly monitored and not open to the public.

Bars on Bourbon Street may be open depending on current guidelines, but revelers will have to adhere to social distancing rules and wear a face mask. Capacity and hours are subject to change, based on COVID-19 statistics throughout Louisiana at the time.

House parties may also be allowed for Mardi Gras, but will have to follow health regulations of the time, which may include strict caps on indoor gatherings.

Louisiana reported 2,239 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, for a grand total of more than 209,900 cases, according to the state health department. Earlier this week, New Orleans raised its COVID-19 threat level to "red," the highest level there is.

The rate of positive cases in the city has nearly doubled in the past week. While bars and restaurants remain open, the public must wear a face mask and practice social distancing. Indoor gatherings are capped at 100 people and outdoor gatherings at 150, according to state regulations.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic celebrations such as the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City was canceled, however as the holidays approach, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will still happen, with several precautions in place.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, on Instagram, or at

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