The good times will be put on hold as the 29th annual Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas scheduled for Feb. 11-14 in downtown Beaumont has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. Organizers had already announced Grammy recording artists Nelly as a performer. All parades will be cancelled, as well.
"The pandemic has forced us all to recognize a new reality," said Mayor Becky Ames. "A reality where gatherings in large groups for in-person meetings and celebrations is no longer advisable or permissible and social distancing and the wearing of face covers is the new normal. Where Stay Home Orders of the state and local officials have been the mantra of the healthcare community."
Laura Childress, president of Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, was in full compliance and agreed safety was most important.
Gov. Greg Abbott's Executive Order GA-32 also prohibits any outdoor gatherings in excess of 10 people unless the mayor of the city approves.
"With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbing due to the post holiday surge and the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity has exceeded 15% for the past several weeks, it would not be prudent for me, as Mayor, to allow the plans for Mardi Gras 2021 to move forward," said Ames. "The responsible thing to do to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Southeast Texas is to cancel the Mardi Gras festivities for the year 2021. We look forward to celebrating Mardi Gras on Feb. 24-27, 2022."
After a long stint in Port Arthur, Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas returned to Beaumont last February and received rave reviews as thousands lined the downtown streets for parades, food and concerts, which included Vanilla Ice, Tone Loc, Jesse Dayton, Kody West and others.