Mardi Gras 2021

Well, this Covid year continues to make life a bit surreal, particularly for musicians who have had to adapt, either playing outdoors or online. Here in Austin, as a cold front sweeps through, our Mardi Gras shows (not to mention Valentine’s Day shows) are being cancelled. I play with a great band called Gumbo YaYa which specializes in New Orleans funk, and I was looking forward to several shows around Mardi Gras, but it was not meant to be… On a broader view, New Orleans has adapted to Covid by canceling parades and large gatherings. Many residents responded by creating “yard floats,” decorating their front yards to resemble themed parade floats, which people can view. This reverse parade is pretty ingenious. I wonder what other imaginative ways people will come up with the assert a festive community spirit this week, just as people have come up with other great ways to connect safely over the past year.

I’m committed to creating safe outdoor and online events, even as we gradually get vaccinated, and start to be able to gather socially with less risk. Right now I livestream shows pretty much every week, on my Facebook page ( I’ll be doing something for Mardi Gras, even if its just playing jazz tunes on my clarinet, just because it is important to celebrate our culture and life in whatever ways we can.