‘Mardi Gras in May’ — Jefferson Parish Council will consider letting parades roll on Memorial Day

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Metairie, La The plan is called “Mardi Gras in May.”

Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken has emailed krewe captains and other Carnival leaders to gauge their interest in a plan that would allow parades to roll in Jefferson Parish during next year’s Memorial Day weekend.

Van Vrancken plans to submit a proposed ordinance to the full Parish Council on Dec. 9th.

The general terms of the ordinance would require all parade participants to get a pre-parade temperature check and sign a health document declaring that they don’t have the virus, nor have been exposed to anyone who has it, at least 14 days before the parade.

To try to “spread out the crowds,” Van Vrancken is proposing that the Metairie parade route would stick mostly to the wider space of Veterans Boulevard, skipping Severn.

Other Parish Council members contacted by WGNO did not return a request for comment, but the ordinance hinges on the possibility that most of the general population will have received a coronavirus vaccine within the next six months– a time frame that infectious disease experts say may not be likely. .

Still, Dan Kelly has hope.

He’s the owner of “Beads by the Dozen” in Harahan– the go-to place for Carnival krewes that plan to parade.

Krewe captains order beads in bulk– so many beads for so many float riders, that the store could easily be called “Beads By the Millions.”

Most of the big krewes, like Endymion which has more than three thousand members, ordered their custom beads and other throws for the 2021 Carnival season from Kelly’s store– back in March. But other krewes put their orders in just a couple of months ago– and now their members won’t be actually buying those beads– an economic blow that Kelly didn’t see coming.

Kelly says he had started telling the Chinese factory managers where the beads are made, to stop. He also told krewe captains they better not order any throws with the year “2021” incorporated into the design.

But tougher than that for Kelly, was laying off 14 employees. He had kept them on until last week, when the City of New Orleans confirmed that parades will not be allowed to roll in Orleans Parish next year because of Covid 19.

“It was heartbreaking,” says Kelly, “it really was.”

Now, the possibility of parades rolling in Jefferson Parish is almost too tantalizing.

“We have the inventory,” Kelly says. “Whenever government officials say parades are on, we’ll have something for them.”

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