How New Orleans Residents Are Celebrating Mardi Gras Despite Pandemic

A number of New Orleans residents are making their homes look like parade floats and calling it "Yardi Gras."

Just under 54,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported yesterday — the lowest number since last October. But health experts are still concerned about what’s to come, warning of a fourth wave since the pandemic began.

The combination of spring break, March madness and Easter festivities may all contribute to the expected surge in cases. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras has been all but cancelled.

It’s Fat Tuesday, but the mayor has shut down major streets in the French Quarter, including Bourbon Street. It’s a far cry from last year’s party scene in the early days of the pandemic, which led to an estimated 50,000 COVID-19 cases.

For Ralph Brennan, who owns the Napoleon House restaurant, the shutdown is the latest blow for business.

“It’s been rough this year. Business is way off. People are very concerned. And when the mayor made the decision to close the bars, we had a lot of cancellations,” Brennan said.

Board games are about as lively as Mardi Gras gets for a group of teachers who are roommates.

“We'll be doing a lot of watching movies, reading, just kind of making sure we're staying away from as many people as possible,” one of the roommates said.

A number of New Orleans residents are making their homes look like parade floats. They're calling it "Yardi Gras."

“Our neighborhood theme is vacation paradise,” one homeowner said.

Megan Boudreaux, the woman who dreamed up Yardi Gras, received an award from the mayor’s office.

“We've got 3,000 houses on our map right now,” she told Inside Edition.