NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans officials called Nyx's Biloxi ball a "potential super spreader event" and "a disservice to the public health," during the City's weekly Tuesday press conference.
The Krewe of Nyx held their annual Carnival masquerade ball Saturday in Biloxi, and New Orleans City Hall Director of Communication Beau Tidwell said holding the "potential super spreader" event elsewhere doesn't make it safe.
"The virus doesn't know where the parish line is," Tidwell said. "You're not magically out of danger when you cross the parish line. It was New Orleans people and a New Orleans organization: The Nyx organization."
Officials asked anyone who attended the event to quarantine for at least 10 days, noting that the event's impact on COVID numbers won't be apparent until about two weeks from the event.
"We know that large gatherings where people are in close contact and are unmasked have been shown repeatedly to lead to outbreaks," Tidwell said. "Everyone involved should know better. We do know better."
'A little get together'
The Krewe of Nyx's attorney, Doug Sunseri, went on WWL Radio Tuesday morning to defend the event, saying that social media has blown it way out of proportion.
“Basically they had a gathering of 42 people at the Imperial Palace in Biloxi. Interestingly, only about two confirmed people who attended the gathering are from Orleans Parish," Sunseri said. "Once a year they have a small gathering ... they just have a little get together and this year they said since we’re not having Mardi Gras we’re going to have a little, small get together at the Imperial Palace."
Sunseri went on to say that the party followed all CDC guidelines to keep the event safe.
'Disservice to public health' may nix Nyx's 2022 Mardi Gras parade permit
The city's director of communications said Mardi Gras krewes are meant to be — and often demonstrate that they are — public service organizations and city officials find it concerning when they do a "disservice to public health."
"The parades that we have — the Carnival season is fantastic; that’s part of the work they do," Tidwell said. "I think all of them have been very clear about the public service that they do."
Officials haven't decided to deny Nyx the opportunity to parade in Mardi Gras, but Nyx's Biloxi ball will be an example of what officials will look at when considering granting permits in the future.
"It’s certainly something we’re going to look at when the time comes to look at permits for next year," Tidwell said. "That is something that is going to be a part of our considerations in any conversations around who’s parading next year."
Tidwell called ignoring COVID guidelines a disrespect to 671 killed by the virus.
'Restrictions are working'
Tidwell said he actually anticipates COVID restrictions to be eased during a Wednesday press conference, but only because New Orleanians have been able to limit the spread by following restrictions.
"(Anticipation to ease restrictions) is due to the hard work people have done. We are grateful that everyone listened to the guidelines. People, by and large, obeyed the guidelines, and as a result, we did see those metrics go down in some key ways."