Did ‘Yardi Gras’ Replace Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans?

New Orleans residents marked the holiday a little differently in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Published 2 February 2021
Image via IanMcnultyNOLA/Twitter

Claim

Mardi Gras parades were canceled in 2021 to limit the spread of COVID-19. Instead, some people decorated their houses like parade floats in a trend that some called “Yardi Gras.”

Origin

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New Orleans’ yearly celebration of Mardi Gras, where parades go around the city marking the end of the Christian festive season of Carnival, will see some changes in 2021. Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office announced that the annual festival was “not cancelled, just different,” because of safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Carnival season officially started on Jan. 6 and concludes in mid-February. The city cannot “cancel” Mardi Gras, as it is a religious holiday, but did say it would be canceling the parades. FAQs on the mayor’s website stated: “Parades of any kind will not be permitted this year because large gatherings have proven to be super spreader events of the COVID-19 virus.”

Instead, in November, Cantrell called on residents of New Orleans to come up with safer ways to celebrate the festival. Many rose to the occasion by decorating their own homes as parade floats. Since November, thousands had joined online groups to support efforts to decorate in their neighborhoods. The trend has been unofficially dubbed “Yardi Gras.”

Some also hired out-of-work Carnival artists and suppliers affected by the parade cancellations to decorate their homes. The Krewe of House Floats, a group behind a lot of the neighborhood decorations also created a map of the decorated houses.

One YouTuber took a tour of decorated houses:

Many online are jokingly calling this trend “Yardi Gras”:

Given the official announcement from the mayor’s office and several photographs and videos showing local efforts to celebrate the holiday in a different way, we rate this claim as “True.”