NEW ORLEANS – City officials on Wednesday announced a scaled-down plan for next year’s Mardi Gras celebration that will still cover both of its traditional weekends but be four days shorter than usual.
The hurricane-battered city’s plan is to allow eight days of festivities for the annual pre-Lenten party, and to consider corporate sponsorships to help defray the city’s cost.
The city initially pitched a six-day schedule because of concerns over the cost of overtime pay for police, emergency responders and sanitation crews. But parade krewes complained it wasn’t enough.
“It’s common sense,” said Ed Muniz, captain of Endymion, one of the city’s biggest parades. “This is a city people love to visit, and this is one of the events that makes New Orleans what it is.”
The compromise, which still requires the mayor’s approval, calls for parades during the weekend of Feb. 18-19, and the following Thursday, Feb. 23, through Mardi Gras, Feb. 28.