NEW ORLEANS — The Bourbon Street Extravaganza is one of the highlights at Southern Decadence, but with thousands of festival goers expected to don sequins, all gathering at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann streets outside Napoleon’s Itch, event co-founder Chuck Robinson decided the safest thing to do is cancel.
“I cancelled because of the risk of Monkeypox," Robinson said.
According to the Louisiana Health Department, there have been 127 Monkeypox infections across the state.
“I was excited, I was thrilled to be back, but I can’t take the risk," Robinson said.
After a two-year COVID hiatus, he says he was very disappointed, but said he has a public safety responsibility.
The health department reporting 95% of Monkeypox cases occurred in males. Dr. Joseph Kanter, the health department's top medical official, says men who have sex with men are at greatest risk.
“People who have frequent sex with anonymous partners, people who have commercialized sex, sex workers, people who have sex in social venues," are also at risk of contracting the virus, Dr. Kanter said.
“We asked for additional doses from the state of Louisiana, we’ve gotten in over 300 and we do expect to have an additional 5,000," Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.
Southern Decadence, is one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ events, attracting people from all over the country.
The festivals site posting Wednesday “Condoms will not prevent it. Avoid close, intimate or sexual contact with anyone that has a rash or flu-like symptoms."
Rikki Redd, current reigning grand Marshall says the festival will go on, but says people need to be safe.
“We're Going to do what we always do, roll up our sleeves and educate the public," Redd said. “We live in a new world and this is what we have to do in order to protect ourselves.”