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EXCLUSIVE: New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was pictured partying maskless during an indoor Mardi Gras event Friday night, despite reinstating the city’s COVID-19 mask mandate for schools and indoor public spaces just weeks ago.
One hundred short videos taken at the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball at Gallier Hall were posted online before they were deleted following Fox News’ inquiries Monday. The videos, taken by a 360-degree photo booth, showed Cantrell singing karaoke maskless with two other women, who were also without masks.
Not a single person wore a protective facemask in the videos, which were taken down less than an hour after Fox News requested comment from Cantrell.
The event comes after Cantrell reinstated the city’s indoor mask mandate for all indoor public settings, including schools, which is still in effect through Mardi Gras Day on March 1.
In a statement to Fox News, Cantrell spokesman Beau Tidwell admitted that there was not a “perfect adoption of the guidelines in every instance” over the weekend.
“The mask guidelines and the vaccination requirement will remain in effect thru Mardi Gras,” he said. “That has not changed and it will not change. Under the current guidelines, masks may be removed indoors while eating and drinking. While we did not see perfect adoption of the guidelines in every instance over the weekend, we were encouraged overall by the level of masking and vigilance we saw on the parade route and at ball events.”
The Louisiana Supreme Court last week denied requests for a temporary restraining order and an expedited hearing on a lawsuit challenging Cantrell’s mask mandate and the vaccine mandate, which requires people older than 5 to show proof of vaccination in order to enter most businesses.
More than 100 plaintiffs have sued the mayor, the New Orleans Health Department, and that agency’s leader Dr. Jennifer Avegno, saying the mandates are violating their constitutional rights.
New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell sings karaoke at the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Ball at Gallier Hall on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.
(Video screenshot/Shutters & Shoots Photobooth)
“We are happy to see the people of New Orleans finally able to return to normal and enjoy the Mardi Gras season,” Laura Cannizzaro Rodrigue, a partner at the New Orleans-based firm Rodrigue & Arcuri, said in a statement to Fox News. “That is exactly what we have been advocating for. We are furious to see our so-called city leaders violating their own mask mandate all through the carnival season while demanding that ordinary citizens and children remain masked. The hypocrisy and privilege will no longer be tolerated. The silence from our state legislature is deafening. We see you, and we are coming for you.”
The complaint filed by Rodrigue & Arcuri and attorney Jimmy Faircloth of Faircloth, Melton, Sobel & Bash LLC, on behalf of more than 100 plaintiffs — and counting — accuses the officials of causing “social, economic and cultural harm” through ‘authoritarian actions under the pretext of an emergency without end.”
Cantrell spokesman Beau Tidwell has not commented on the lawsuit, but he said on Feb. 1 that “the guidelines we put in place save lives.”
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.
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