A bar in Uptown New Orleans and a local Mardi Gras krewe have been reprimanded by the city for violating COVID-19 guidelines and putting New Orleanians in danger.
A photo that circulated on social media showed the Monkey Hill Bar packed with patrons standing close together last Saturday night. Most of the guests were not wearing masks.
New Orleans Director of Communications Beau Tidwell said in a Tuesday press briefing that the city over the weekend received several complaints against the bar about patrons not wearing masks, poor social distancing, occupancy violations, and the bar serving past 11 p.m., the current cut-off time for alcohol sales.
Tidwell said Monkey Hill has received a formal written warning.
Monkey Hill management said in a statement that the bar was booked for a private event with 40 guests, in compliance of the city’s 25 percent capacity guidelines, but that the attendance quickly grew.
"Saturday night was unfortunate,” the statement said. “… We have taken this very seriously and are putting in more stringent policies and procedures to ensure that this does not happen again at Monkey Hill Bar."
Tidwell said the city is working with the bar’s ownership on a plan “to allow them to move forward.”
Meanwhile, Mystic Krewe of Nyx hosted its annual ball in Biloxi, Miss. Large gatherings with people from different households have been temporarily banned in New Orleans, and no such restriction is in place in Biloxi
Reports said the event was booked for roughly 50 people and that tables at the IP Hotel and Casino were spaced 6 feet apart. Some photos from the ball show attendees without masks on.
Tidwell pointed out that while the event was held in another state, attendees were “New Orleans people and it was a New Orleans organization.”
“Our krewes are meant to be service organizations. This sort of activity does a disservice to the public health,” Tidwell said.
The city is recommending that everyone who was at the ball quarantine themselves for 10 days, the CDC recommended time for people to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19. Tidwell said it will be weeks before we know if the event has become a super spreader.
Nyx leader Julie Lea was at the center of a controversy over the summer when, shortly after the killing of George Floyd, she posted a picture on the krewe’s Instagram story of a black child holding the face of a white child with the caption, “Our souls are the same color.” Lea added the hashtag #ALLLIVESMATTER — a phrase used in opposition of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lea later apologized. Fellow krewe members protested and called for her to step down, but she refused. In 2020 the all women organization claimed it was the largest parading krewe in New Orleans History. But after the controversy several members and officers left in outrage.