The Louisiana Restaurant Association regretfully announces its annual “Taste of Mardi Gras” will not take place in 2021 due to capacity and other restrictions related to Covid-19. Historically, this event, held on the Friday preceding Mardi Gras, is a staple for nearly 2,000 carnival enthusiasts in Alexandria and the surrounding area.
“The coronavirus continues to take its toll on our economy and now our Mardi Gras celebrations,” said LRA Cenla Chapter President Scott Laliberte of Diamond Grill. “While this event is an institution in our community, there is no appropriate manner to execute the event within the safety guidelines required to prevent the spread of this virus. The safety and health of our participants, sponsors and the community is front of mind to us all.”
Taste of Mardi Gras is the LRA Cenla Chapter’s largest philanthropic event featuring a sampling of cuisine and beverages from local restaurants, vendors, bars, musicians and caterers. Each year, the LRA’s Cenla Chapter selects a local charitable organization to receive a portion of the proceeds from the event. It also provides financial support to LRA activities including the LRA Educational Foundation which executes the ProStart curriculum in high schools in the area. The LRAEF and ProStart provide skills development to promote the restaurant industry as a career choice through its restaurant management and culinary arts program at three central Louisiana high schools. Event revenue additionally has funded the LRA Cenla Chapter Scholarship, which has provided up to $5,000 in post-secondary financial aid to a qualified student.
“As restaurants, we are required to downsize our dining room guest capacity, practice social distancing and keep our storefronts sanitized,” explained Laliberte. “Deciding that its best to skip our 2021 event and begin to plan for the 2022 Taste of Mardi Gras is another example of stewardship of the hospitality industry.”