Locals react to mayor’s Mardi Gras apprehension


Gabrielle Korein

Mayor LaToya Cantrell addresses a crowd of parade goers at the Krewe of Tucks parade on Feb. 26.

Jonathan Whitehead, Staff Writer

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently discussed the issue of the lack of police enforcement in New Orleans and how the severity of this shortage could result in cancellation of Mardi Gras in 2023.
However, following this statement, Cantrell told WDSU, “we are NOT canceling Mardi Gras.” These contradictions have left New Orleanians confused on what this coming carnival season might look like.
Loyola’s chair of the department of theatre arts and dance, Patrick Gendusa, who is a French Quarter resident, shared his thoughts on the situation. Gendusa said that he has experienced at least forty years of Mardi Gras celebrations in his lifetime and that despite Cantrell’s uncertainty of the holiday, “it’s gonna happen no matter what.” With this high optimism at hand, Gendusa recognized why the mayor was considering terminating carnival in order to protect the New Orleans community.
“I am sure being a mayor is a very difficult job, but I’m always for having Mardi Gras,” he said.
Loyola international business senior Caroline Barnhill also gave her insight on the controversy. Barnhill has experienced two Mardi Gras seasons during her time at Loyola, and she said she loves the time of year because, “it works as a holiday and brings people together. People come in from all over the world during this time.”
In regards to Cantrell’s change of executive ruling, Barnhill said she believes that, “the public safety situation is not fully under control. Saying that Mardi Gras is or will be canceled is a big statement and can cause a lot of stir among the people.”
Although she has a love for the festivities, Barnhill said she realizes the importance of police enforcement during the parades.
“New Orleans can be a dangerous city, and with Mardi Gras being peak tourist season, it is important for there to be security,” she said.
Loyola senior psychology major Adele Colson, who attended Mardi Gras in 2020, shared similar concerns regarding the upcoming Mardi Gras season.
While Colson considered the potential reality of Mardi Gras 2023 being canceled, she added, “the Greater New Orleans community would be distraught if we didn’t have Mardi Gras, but at the same time I also understand the dangers and ultimately want the choice to be made to keep people safe.”
Now that the New Orleans Police Department is facing a decline in officers, the mayor said she must consider canceling the holiday in the best interest of those participating. In her previous statement, in which she originally proposed the idea of canceling Mardi Gras, she told WGNO, “if we don’t have adequate police, it could mean that there will be no Mardi Gras — and that’s a fact. If our officers cannot be safe, then there’s no way that our city will be safe.”
Cantrell mentioned that the shortage of law enforcement is not only occurring in the city but also nationwide. While the police force has been in the limelight with a negative connotation following recent political controversies, police enforcement is essential during Mardi Gras to maintain crowd control and assure safety among the highly populated areas that gather for the parades, local residents and politicians alike have said.
With the safety concerns of Mardi Gras 2023 in hand, it is unclear what the outcome will be. However, it is certain that a cancellation of the holiday will devastate New Orleanians and tourists alike, even if the mayor’s executive ruling is in the best interest of the people.