Mardi Gras parades plan to roll in 2022 | 'It will make a great statement'

During all the Hurricane Ida clean up, and pandemic, you may not realize that carnival season is only four months away.

But behind the scenes, work to put on the greatest free show on earth started last year and has not stopped.

Carnival Captains say despite the hardships now, there are no plans to cancel parades.

At Mardi Gras World on the river front, the power tools are building and the artists are painting. Barry Kern, President of Kern Studios and Mardi Gras World, says there are no plans right now to cancel Mardi Gras parades because of Hurricane Ida or COVID-19. He says all of his customers, the captains of krewes, plan to roll.

“It will make a great statement,” Kern said. “A lot of people from all over the world will have their eyes on New Orleans and we get to tell people we’re open for business again.”

The staff at Kern Studios was cut in half because a lot of the floats that were already made for 2021 didn’t roll, but the demand is going up and staff will increase as carnival season gets closer.

“We’re ready to go. We need more floats. We have more people,” Kern said he is being told by the Krewes. “So there’s more of a demand. I’ll tell you that there’s a huge, very big, pent up, demand for ridership.”

Both Kern and the Krewe of Endymion president say the coming Carnival season has a post-Katrina feel.

“It was the biggest Mardi Gras we had in 30-to-40 years and I think you’re going to see the same thing this year. People just want to party. They want to get out. They want to have fun,” said Dan Kelly, the President of the Krewe of Endymion.

Endymion says all 3,200 of its members are planning to ride. The captain of Iris says most of her 3,400 members are too, but they plan to watch what is happening with COVID cases in the community.

“Especially the ones that see it firsthand. Especially our nurses. Of course we want to make sure to follow the guidelines, and listen to them, and we completely understand if a rider decides, ‘Hey, I don’t feel safe.’  We won’t give their spot away,” said Kristin Danflous, the Iris captain.

Both krewes say they will follow whatever COVID-19 guidelines the city puts in place in order to leave the den and parade.

“We are having Mardi Gras. We are riding on these floats. We are throwing our throws,”  Danflous said

Mardi Gras World suffered roof damage from Ida, so tours won’t reopen until the beginning of October. But the floats are designed to get wet, showing that Ida can’t rain on our parades.

And in hard-hit Houma, some of the floats from the Krewe of Hercules were damaged by Hurricane Ida. Still, Kern says the parade plans to roll and he can have them all fixed by Carnival.

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