COVID-19 Mardi Gras public safety

Endymion to roll through Mid-City in 2022: ‘What they want most is their route in Mid-City’

Endymion rolls on Canal Street on Feb. 22, 2020. (Camille Barnett, Mid-City Messenger file photo)

The Krewe of Endymion will remain on its traditional Mid-City route for Carnival 2022, Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced on Tuesday (Dec. 21).

The superkrewe — the only remaining Mid-City parade — will roll down Orleans Avenue, North Carrollton and Canal Street on Feb. 26, 2022.

Carnival parade routes will be shortened next year to avoid stretching the police force, Emergency Medical Service and other public safety workers too thin. Consolidating all parades on the St. Charles Avenue route was reportedly under discussion, but Endymion was able to hold on to its route.

“Their main thing is, ‘Thank you for keeping us in Mid-City,” said Cantrell, reporting on her conversations with Endymion officials. “What they want most is their route in Mid-City. And I’m very happy we can continue that tradition.”

The route is reduced once the superkrewe reaches downtown. It will turn on Elk Place instead of St. Charles Avenue on its way to the Caesars Superdome, where the parade ends and the Endymion Extravaganza begins.

Another krewe that takes an individualistic route is Zulu. Although it rolls on the St. Charles Avenue route from Central City, the Zulu parade traditionally ends in the Mid-City area at the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club headquarters on North Broad off Orleans Avenue.

The last stretch of the Zulu route down Orleans Avenue allows residents in the Treme, Lafitte, Mid-City and Bayou St. John neighborhoods a chance to enjoy the popular parade, and maybe catch a coconut, without traveling far from home on Mardi Gras Day.

Zulu is keeping its long route through myriad neighborhoods on its way to Broad and Orleans, although the route is also shortened in the downtown area.

A crowd gathers on Canal Street for the 2020 Endymion parade. (Camille Barnett, Mid-City Messenger file photo)

Endymion is known for its mega-floats, generous throws and large crowds. It draws more than a million spectators, according to krewe estimates. Sometimes revelers are 25 to 35 deep on both sides of the parade.

That influx of revelers on Endymion Saturday is a boon to Mid-City bars, restaurants and other businesses.

The city skipped its 2021 Carnival parade season because of the pandemic. The 2020 season, held before Covid-19 was recognized as a public health crisis, is now seen as a super-spreader event.

As Cantrell announced that the return of Mardi Gras parades, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended Louisiana’s Public Health Emergency order related to Covid-19 in light of the fast-spreading omicron variant.

The city is currently experiencing an outbreak of Covid cases, with an average of 232 new cases per day over the past week.

While expressing confidence that Carnival will go on, Cantrell left open the possibility of altering the plans if the situation calls for it.

“It is definitely the focus of balance — public safety being that top priority, but making sure that we can balance our economy, balance our culture in ways that we celebrate here in New Orleans,” she said.

About 80% of adults in New Orleans are fully vaccinated, she noted. Masks and expanded testing can also help to limit the virus’ spread during parade season.

The return of Endymion also brings the Samedi Gras block party to the Orleans Avenue neutral ground between City Park Avenue and Carrollton. Beginning at noon on parade day, Samedi Gras draws about 30,000 people from Mid-City neighborhoods to hear local bands and help kick off Endymion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *