It was a question of wants versus needs Wednesday at the Jefferson Parish Council.
The parish says it wants to have Carnival parades sometime in 2021, but officials say they need to make sure it’s safe to do so.
The Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Day Parade was the first parade to fall victim to COVID-19 in Jefferson Parish. Now, the krewe hopes it might be able to add a little green to the red, white and blue of the July 4th weekend in 2021.
“It’s our 50th anniversary. Uncle Sam said he didn’t have a problem with us sharing birthdays,” Dan Civello, captain of the Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Parade, told the council.
The overarching problem, however, is the virus which has the parish council trying to salvage Carnival 2021 -- if it can.
The plan is to try to move parades to Memorial Day weekend in May.
“You’ve been dealing with an unknown enemy, and I really, really believe very soon that we’re going to start scoring some points,” Civello said.
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Promising news of a vaccine has councilmembers hopeful parades will be able to roll, even if later than usual.
“May is the target, because if the vaccines start rolling out this month, then that gives us, really, a full six months before that Memorial Day Weekend,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken.
Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said she also wants to see parades happen if possible, but she is concerned that could conflict with vaccine distributions.
“For us to have a good Mardi Gras, the vaccinations have to come first,” she said.
Business owners like Melvin Grodsky with Tuxedoes to Geaux pleaded for something to happen.
“Every day we put off our business is another day we may not have a business,” he said. “I would ask for you all not to delay this at all, to get some kind of approval on this so we can start planning to go forward as soon as possible.”
The council ultimately decided to defer any decisions on Carnival to at least its first meeting of 2021 on Jan. 13.
The parish hopes the annual Family Gras celebration can happen during Carnival season. Councilmembers said that since it’s a ticketed event, the crowd can be limited and social distancing can be enforced.
Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng told the council that while she wants to see Carnival parades roll sometime in 2021, she worries that manpower along the parade route might be needed if the parish is trying to host mass vaccinations around the same time.
Public-health officials have said it could be the spring or summer when vaccines are ready to be distributed to the general public.