New Orleans mayor blasts large gatherings despite virus ban

March 15, 2020 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she was “deeply disappointed” that people ignored a ban on large gatherings issued by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.

St. Patrick’s Day revelers in kilts and green shamrocks packed a city street on Saturday, though the city’s official parade had been cancelled, The Times-Picayune-New Orleans Advocate reports. New Orleans police later broke up a party at a bar. The gatherings occurred as Louisiana announced its first death from coronavirus — a 58-year-old Orleans Parish resident with underlying health problems.


The state reported its second death on Sunday. The 53-year-old Orleans Parish resident had underlying medical conditions and was being treated at Touro Infirmary, according to the governor’s office. Cantrell said in a statement the person was a friend of hers.

On Saturday, the mayor blasted people who gathered in large groups, saying they were “actively increasing the danger to their neighbors and their loved ones.”

“This is unacceptable,” she said in a statement.

Edwards had banned gatherings of more than 250 people. He also postponed the state’s presidential primaries due to fears about the coronavirus.

State health officials said Sunday that Louisiana had 91 coronavirus cases. Edwards has warned that the state’s health system would be overwhelmed with a lower number of cases than would be required to have a similar impact in other states.