After the Mardi Gras parade in New Roads was canceled last fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, city leaders and organizers have reimagined the annual event by finding a different way to celebrate.
Starting Saturday, visitors will be able to drive alongside stationary floats near the Market at the Mill in a reverse-style parade similar to how other communities plan to hold parades.
Dubbed the Prettiest City on the Water event, it’s the first time the city has held a drive-thru Carnival celebration.
City and Pointe Coupee Parish leaders cancelled the parade last fall due to worries the event became a catalyst for viral spread that could overwhelm the local healthcare system would not be able to handle.
The annual parade in past years attracted more than 100,000 people to the city, and city leaders said they wanted to continue the tradition, albeit in a modified way of the pandemic. It's the first time the event has been canceled since World War II.
“We see this as the best approach to take to protect the public and preserve our tradition,” said New Roads Mayor Cornell Dukes.
Right about now you're probably really missing Mardi Gras parades. No Mystique, no Artemis, no Orion — nothing at all is rolling.
While the event is running, the Mill at 311 Mill Street will be transformed into Carnival central.
Cars will enter from Oak Street and drive through The Mill’s entrance to view more than a dozen floats on display from the Lions Club, Carnival Club, as well as floats from other parades and krewes from around the state.
Organizers say people will be limited to eight passengers and won’t be allowed to get out or congregate during the event.
Dukes said he’s hopeful the city will be able to resume the annual tradition in 2022.
Tickets for the event are $10 and available at bontempstix.com. Proceeds from the event will go toward funding efforts to curb violent crime in the city.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mardi Gras day.