Viewpoint: Crime and Covid will not mix well with Carnival

It’s Twelfth Night. I rushed out this morning to the King Cake Hub’s annual Carnival Kick Off Party, held this year at Zony Mash Beer Project. As I surveyed all the offerings, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of impact Mardi Gras will have on Covid and crime, both of which continue to break records. Carnival should be a record-breaking event as well. People are tired of being cooped up and want to celebrate.

After pandemic losses, Magazine Street businesses were counting on Carnival parade revenue. Then the routes changed.

While most New Orleanians are glad the parades will return to the streets for the 2022 Carnival season, the route changes will hurt many of the small businesses along Magazine Street. The 2022 routes, announced on Tuesday by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, eliminate the  stretch of Magazine Street from Jefferson to Napoleon Avenue, where nine krewes begin their procession, and the longer stretch of Magazine from Henry Clay Avenue that the Krewe of Thoth commands. Instead, these parades will all line up at Napoleon and Prytania Street. The owners of Tito’s Ceviche and Pisco at 5015 Magazine were expecting the revenue from the parade-viewing crowds to help with their financial recovery from the pandemic. “Mardi Gras parades are a financial boost for us,” said Tito’s co-owner Tatiana Lock.

Carnival 2022 parade changes leave out Magazine Street, Thoth’s altruistic route

All Carnival krewes will see route changes for 2022 Mardi Gras, Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced Tuesday (Dec. 21). The Magazine Street leg of many parade routes has been eliminated, she said at a press conference. Magazine Street — where neighbors gather for a more laid-back parade experience — is a favorite viewing spot for many Uptown residents. The changes are necessary, officials said, because of staff shortages in the city’s public safety agencies, including the police, emergency medical and fire departments.

Hollywood leading man Josh Duhamel to reign as Bacchus LIII

 

Actor and director Josh Duhamel will reign as Bacchus LIII on Sunday, Feb. 27, Clark Brennan, captain of the Krewe of Bacchus, announced on Monday (Dec. 20). 

“We at Bacchus are so excited to once again present a first-class parade with the legendary Josh Duhamel, a fabulous king who is already destined to be a crowd favorite,” Brennan said. “After a tough two years, the citizens of New Orleans and our visitors from around the world are ready to celebrate. We are also committed to supporting our local musicians who have been struggling.” 

Duhamel starred in the Netflix original series “Jupiter’s Legacy” and made his directorial debut with “The Buddy Games” which he also co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in.

Nola Flora, Peony in full bloom on Magazine Street

Both Nola Flora and Peony Fine Clothing on Magazine Street have incorporated large flowers in their storefront floats this Carnival season. 

The already festive building at 4536 Magazine St. where Nola Flora is located is eye-catching enough, but it just got enhanced. Their storefront float theme is the shop’s name and it features giant flowers and a flowering vine going up the front and side of the building. Nola Flora is located on the Uptown parade route, so when parades were cancelled for this year, it was  truly discouraging. But being good New Orleanians, they took the bad stuff that came their way, covered it in glitter and kept on going.

How Ceaux’s Carnival poster series reflects the Black Mardi Gras experience

Every year since 2016, New Orleans-born-and-raised multimedia artist Courtney “Ceaux” Buckley, of Axiom Gallery on Freret Street, has been painting vibrant and detailed posters that depict the Black Mardi Gras experience. Through this annual poster series, Buckley said, he not only aims to provide a representation of the Black experience during Carnival season, but that he also intends to normalize it. “I don’t think we should always be presented like a big deal,” he said. “These things go on all the time, every year, it’s recurring.”

He adds that it is important for Black people from New Orleans to see representations of their culture in this more generalized way opposed to only packaged news stories and documentaries. Inspiration and communal Black experiences

Buckley said that the poster series was inspired by childhood photos lost in the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina.

Dolly Parton tribute and a king cake cartoon grace Magazine Street businesses

Scriptura and Parcels & Post have both installed storefront floats to bring the Carnival spirit to Magazine Street. And together they represent some popular images in the house float craze: oversized flowers, king cakes, alligators and Dolly Parton. 

Scriptura has a 25-year history at 5423 Magazine St. It started in just the front room, and gradually grew into the owners buying the building and taking over every square inch. They have their letterpress studio in the back, retail in the front and offices on the second floor. 

Scriptura’s storefront “house float” is dedicated to the country music star because of the inspiration she provided during the difficulties of last year. The year 2020 was full of personal loss for the owners of Scriptura.