City cancels Irish Channel Parade, Super Sunday to prevent coronavirus spread

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Jamie Flowers receives a kiss from a member of the Irish Corner Club during the 2019 Irish Channel Parade. Before the 2020 parade was canceled, organizers were urging winks or fist bumps in place of the traditional Irish kisses.  (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

A variety of groups were ready to bring an explosion of activity to Uptown streets this weekend. The Irish Channel Parade, a centerpiece of local St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, was planned for Saturday. And the following day, Mardi Gras Indian tribes and second-line groups were to bring their artistry to the streets of Central City for the annual Uptown Super Sunday.

Now Irish Channel paraders need to store their throws and Indians need to put away this year’s suits. And for Uptown residents, this might be a good weekend for spring cleaning and gardening instead of enjoying parades. 

All large public events planning for New Orleans during the next week were canceled Tuesday evening after two more presumptive coronavirus cases, in addition to the Jefferson Parish resident being treated in the VA Medical Center, were reported in New Orleans.

Since the announcement, another potential coronavirus case has been reported at Tulane Medical Center. So four patients are in four different hospitals — including Touro Infirmary — with four different sets of previous contacts. That’s too many people in New Orleans right now who may have come into contact with the disease, officials said.

“At large events like parades and second-lines, we see individuals interacting very closely for an extended period of time,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the New Orleans Health Department, Tuesday after Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the cancellations. “There is still a lot of uncertainty about this disease, but we are being as proactive as possible.”

The patient at Touro is a man in his 50s who works as a driver in the local hospitality industry. His job puts him in regular contact with international tourists, the patient told WWL-TV. He’s been in isolation for three days.

The block party, scheduled for March 17 at Annunciation Playground, was also canceled. The Mass on Saturday, traditionally held before the parade, remains scheduled for St. Mary’s Assumption Church, 923 Josephine St., at noon. Some of the Irish Channel marching groups are planning a pub crawl along the parade route on Saturday afternoon, according to social media posts.

The grand opening of the Mardi Gras Indian Council Cultural Center is still planned for Friday at noon in Central City.

This story was updated after the Irish Channel block party was canceled. The original report was posted before its cancellation.

Algiers Warriors march down LaSalle Street during Super Sunday in 2019. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

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