NEW ORLEANS — The nearly 40-year-old all children’s Krewe of Little Rascals would have paraded down Veterans Boulevard in Metairie on February 13.
Monday, the krewe announced it is cancelling its 2022 parade, after more than half its members bowed out.
They cited health concerns over the ongoing covid pandemic and the fast-spreading omicron variant.
Krewe Captain Maureen Spittler said, “The decision was not easy. The kids are our first concern. We will be back in 2023.”
JP Council Member Jennifer Van Vrancken said Little Rascals is unique as the parish’s earliest parade of the Carnival season and because of the young age of its riders.
“I think the cancellation is not at all indicative of any of the other krewes,” Van Vrancken said. “It is unique to Little Rascals.”
Across the parish line in New Orleans, City Health Director Dr. Jennifer Avegno expects the latest surge of the virus to begin to subside before the busy Carnival weekends.
“It is likely that yes, we will peak in cases in the next few weeks, hospitalizations will lag, so by mid to end of February, I don’t expect that we’ll be in the level that we are now.” Avegno said.
Dr. Avegno also said taking steps now to control the spread of the virus, such as masking and getting vaccinated and boosted, will help ensure a safe Mardi Gras in the city.
“The goal here is to protect our kids, to protect schools, protect healthcare workers, to protect the system,” Avegno said. “It shouldn’t matter that we’re having a party in March. But, if people needed extra motivation, maybe that’s what they’ll find.”
Van Vranken says the numbers are already trending in the right direction in JP.
“I know all of the parading organizations that we’ve been in contact with, in Jefferson Parish, they are eager to get back out on the streets.” Van Vrancken said. “We’re seeing vaccination rates continuing to go up as hopefully we hit the peak and are coming down in terms of positivity rates and so I’m hoping that we will be in good territory as we gear up for Carnival.”
Jefferson’s only other Carnival krewe opting out this year is the Krewe of Pandora.
There are two new parades in JP for 2022.
They are “Symphony” on the Eastbank and the “Culinary Queens of New Orleans” on the Westbank.