Newell: "Reckless" for Mayor Cantrell to postulate on canceling Mardi Gras



We’ve heard a lot about what Mayor Cantrell has been saying or not saying, what she has been doing, or not doing. It seems as though every time she engages in an interview with the national media, a new revelation comes out.

After Mayor Cantrell told the Washington Post that New Orleans will have to think about canceling Mardi Gras in 2021, I couldn’t help but think about a few things. First, the definition of the word “measured.” In the context of speech and writing, “measured” means carefully considered, deliberate and restrained. As opposed to “reckless” - a person unthinking or uncaring about the consequences of their actions. I believe the Mayor is the latter.

RELATED: Cantrell: "We have to think about" whether to hold Mardi Gras 2021

Folks, if by now, one does not grasp the dynamic and fluid nature of this novel coronavirus, there’s really not much else to be said. To admit that canceling events, large or small, in the first quarter of 2021 is on the table, without regard for the message you are sending to the world is reckless, at the very least. One must assume that the Mayor has access to some other modeling that everyone else in the world can’t get. Or maybe we are witnessing a new-age Aristotle. A new kind of logic, where everything is perpetually on the table to be canceled, removed, displaced or postponed.Consider the following: If canceling an event scheduled for February 2021 is on the table in April 2020, what is going to appear on the table in the month of May? June? July? Will we then be talking about canceling the St Patrick’s Day parades? French Quarter Fest? Jazz Fest? If the necessity to articulate possible considerations exists now about the somewhat distant future, then the coming days and months when the Mayor goes in front of the media will definitely be full of hold-your-breath moments.Which brings me back to the Mayor. Is she measured and transparent, or is she reckless? Business owners have talked long and hard about trying to come back, and they are concerned and upset about Cantrell’s comments about this fall. Now we’re forecasting into next year? 

RELATED: Arthur Hardy on Mardi Gras in 2021: 'No one is throwing in the towel'

I can’t highlight this enough. There’s a marked difference in the leadership style (or lack thereof) between Mayor Cantrell and Governor Edwards. Edwards has not been willing to participate in conversations about what’s going to happen this fall, much less 2021. But this Mayor seems to be out there, almost as if she wants to one-up everyone and predict the future. For me, that means she doesn’t have a lot of confidence in what's happening in medical research and the advancements we have already achieved.

I asked Political Analyst Clancy Dubos onto the program this morning to discuss this, and he agreed with me that the Mayor really did not need to think out loud to the Washington Post reporter in this regard.“You don’t have to answer every question,” Dubos said. “I’m probably being a traitor to my brothers and sisters in the press, but it’s just a fact. We want them to answer questions, we ask them hoping and expecting to get an answer, but I’ve had plenty of my questions not answered. And as a political leader, you gave the Governor as an example - someone asked a question and he said ‘it’s not time to get into that right now.’ The Mayor could have, and I believe should have said, ‘it’s too early for that.’ They’re only asking about Mardi Gras because they made this tempest-in-a-teapot when they asked about it a few months ago.”“Think about this,” Dubos continued. “What answer would Mitch Landrieu or Marc Morial have given? Somebody who is not a skilled politician mistakenly thinks you have to answer every question or discuss every little controversy. You don’t!”