Katrina refugees say it's no time to party for Mardi Gras

Saturday, December 10th 2005, 12:03 pm
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Hurricane Katrina refugees stuck in hotel rooms and unfamiliar surroundings across the United States are in no mood to party and they're decrying plans to hold Mardi Gras celebrations in two months.

Lillie Antoine, a 51 year-old refugee stuck in Tulsa, says this is not the time for fun.

Hurricane Katrina's cultural and economic wrecking ball came on the eve of what promised to be one of the most exuberant parties in the 150 years of Carnival parades in New Orleans.

Carnival is shaping up to be an oddity. The cash-strapped city is seeking corporate sponsors for the first time to pay for police overtime and the time-consuming cleanup along parade routes and the French Quarter. Also, the two-week Carnival season -- which climaxes on Fat Tuesday, the day before the Lenten season -- was scaled back to eight days.

Arthur Hardy, a Mardi Gras historian who publishes a popular guide to Carnival each year, said celebrating the holiday would be good not just for the economy but also for the mental state of the city's residents.