NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Friday is the big night in both Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. It’s the first night of float parades and businesses are waiting to see what the crowds will bring.
St. Charles is buzzing with pre-parade preparations as excitement builds for Oshun, Cleopatra, and Alla.
But, a lot of the businesses along this year’s shortened Uptown route say they’re nervous, wondering what the night has in store as far as carjackings and robberies. They say it’s been hard trying to get their staff on the schedule on top of COVID concerns as well as supply shortages making cups and liquor hard to find. It’s brought a stressful and uncertain air to what is normally a joyful night.
Despite that, some, like the Ponchartrain Hotel, are looking towards the positives and are eager to open their doors.
“It feels so good to finally have Mardi Gras back,” Vivienne Friedman said. “It’s been two years now. We are ready, the hotel is almost sold out.”
Friedman says the hotel has been preparing for a long time now to avoid any issues with supply and staffing shortages.
“We didn’t want to run into any last minute issues,” Friedman said. “We have been hiring, we’ve been training, the service is impeccable, the supplies are here, so we are ready.”
As far as the shortened route pushing more people in their direction, Friedman says they embrace it.
“It’s usually very full here too, but we love our crowd,” Friedman said. “It’s very local, it’s fabulous, our hotel’s guests know what to expect, we’ve been sending information.”
Knowing what to expect can be hard to accomplish this year, not only in New Orleans, but in Metairie as well, gearing up for the massive Family Gras celebration as well as a big weekend full of parades.
“We have to be ready for anything, you know? So, we got extra bartenders, extra servers, we’re ready for anything,” Phillip O’Donnell at Bobby Hebert’s said.
O’Donnell says they have seen the impacts of supply shortages, but they always have a backup plan.
“Our owners and upper management staff do a lot of pulling of whatever we need to, O’Donnell said. “If we can’t get it somewhere, we get it from somewhere else.”
Their drinks are usually a hit with the crowds and O’Donnell doesn’t think this year will be any different at the bar.
“I’m ready for everybody to be back to normal,” O’Donnell said.