Shreveport Would Have Canceled Mardi Gras If COVID Warnings Were Stronger
This week, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was faced with a mountain of national questions over the massive outbreak of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in her area. The size of the outbreak has earned New Orleans the label of a "hot spot" for the virus.
Cantrell has been questioned heavily about the impact that Mardi Gras celebrations had on the spread of the virus. Which has now morphed into questions about why the city held their massive celebrations, knowing that there was a growing concern over COVID-19. She addressed that on National TV this week, when CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Cantrell why they proceeded with the celebrations after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued an advisory two weeks before. Cantrell replied:
“When it’s not taken seriously on the federal level, it’s very difficult to transcend down to the local level in making these decisions. But when the experts told me that social gatherings would be an issue, I moved forward with canceling them.”
We asked Ben Riggs, the Communications Manager for Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins' Office, how Mayor Perkins approached Shreveport's Mardi Gras celebrations. Riggs said:
"Mayor Perkins would have cancelled Mardi Gras if Public Health officials had warned that it was a danger to the health and well-being of our community"
Both Cantrell and Perkins moved quickly in their communities once the warnings from State and Federal Officials became more serious. Both have also benefited from having major decisions made at the State level from Governor John Bel Edwards, while also making tough decisions to close events and parks, and tough decisions to not make moves (curfews, closings, restrictions) as well.