The Cortana Kiwanis Club has canceled the Christmas parade that annually rolls through downtown Baton Rouge, citing health and safety concerns sparked by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Organizers on Monday announced the cancelation of the beloved annual parade, which had been scheduled for Dec. 12. They already have a date, though, for the 2021 parade, Dec. 11, and urge locals to “save the date.” The parade is the biggest Christmas parade in Baton Rouge. featuring dozens of floats and attracting tens of thousands of spectators.

“We look forward to celebrating again in person with everyone at next year’s parade,” said Rick Haddad, president of Cortana Kiwanis, in a news release.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said she’s saddened by the parade’s cancelation.

“The Cortana Kiwanis Christmas Parade is always one of the most joyous celebrations of the holidays in Baton Rouge, drawing tens of thousands of people to the downtown area and featuring beautifully decorated floats, marching bands, dance troupes, and many other wonderful parade entries," Broome said.

Nevertheless, she said it is important to preserve public health.

“It is the right move and I am grateful to Cortana Kiwanis for their annual contributions to our community,” Broome said.

The Christmas parade first rolled in 1950 and this December would have marked its 70th year in existence. The parade has been canceled before, last in 2018 due to bad weather and before that in 2005 due to challenges arising from Hurricane Katrina.

Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is the annual presenting sponsor of the parade. Money raised from the parade goes to numerous local children’s charities and other local and worldwide philanthropic Kiwanis projects, a list of which is on the parade’s website, www.christmasinbr.com.


Email Charles Lussier at clussier@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.