METAIRIE, La. - Roughly three weeks before its parade was set to roll in Metairie, the Krewe of Atlas canceled its Carnival parade this year. The parade would have cost an estimated $60,000 this year. Krewe president Daniel Murray says revenue from Bingo games, which is its main source of funding, is drying up. It's forced the Krewe's first financially driven cancellation of its parade.
"The revenue isn't there, so I couldn't go into it owing anybody any money or not being able to pay the bills," said Murray.
Some local Krewes have complained that new requirements for parades passed by Jefferson Parish have made the parade process more costly. Parish President John Young disagrees. While he concedes new requirements may be more expensive he says their aim to increase the quality of parades.
"The national economy is still rebounding and that plays a factor, we certainly don’t welcome any parades being cancelled but each Krewe will make its own call. We're working with the Krewes, we're working with the captains and we're all committed to maintaining a quality Mardi Gras in Jefferson Parish," said Young.
Mardi Gras historian Errol Laborde said the cancellation of the parade is not necessarily a negative sign. Laborde questioned the longevity of any organization relying on weekly Bingo revenues as a main source of funding. By some Krewes cancelling, Laborde believes the quality of parades may actually improve.
"I'm a Darwinist, about carnival parades, I don't think a parade has an inherent right to survive, if you can't do it right, you shouldn't survive," said Laborde.
Founded in 1969, The Krewe of Atlas is among the oldest in Jefferson Parish. The Krewe of Thor and newly formed Guardians of Atlantis have also called off parades this season. They all hope to return next year.