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By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras during the pandemic, in photos

The city’s beloved celebrations don’t look the same, but house floats and king cakes keep the spirit alive.

A house float on St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District of New Orleans. (William Widmer/For The Washington Post)

For about a million reasons, Mardi Gras doesn’t look the same this year. The city’s beloved parades are officially canceled. Its bars are closed. Its streets are empty. And to add insult to injury, the New Orleans weather forecast is wet, cold and icy, dashing many last-ditch efforts to spend time with loved ones outdoors at a safe distance.

Nonetheless, the city has found a way to celebrate Carnival season against the odds. Residents went through great lengths to decorate their homes like parade floats. King cake business has boomed, as people in town and across the country ordered the delicacy for a taste of normalcy. At home, locals are donning costumes and turning on the Mardi Gras music they’re missing.

With gray skies and empty streets, the spirit of Mardi Gras still finds a way.

A local's guide to New Orleans

Mardi Gras is canceled, so residents are making their homes into floats: ‘New Orleans doesn’t know how to do anything halfway’

How to celebrate Mardi Gras at home this year, according to New Orleans locals

There’s another Mardi Gras pastry with the lore of a king. Sweden is where you’ll find it.

Read more on travel during the pandemic:

Tips: Advice column | Coronavirus testing | Sanitizing your hotel | Updating documents

Flying: Pandemic packing | Airport protocols | Staying healthy on planes | Fly or drive? | Layovers

Road trips: Tips | Rental cars | Best snacks | Long-haul trains | Rest stops | Cross-country drive