You can pout, you can cry, you can shout, but you will comply. Christmas in New Orleans is canceled.
Santa Claus will have to cool his heels for two weeks in the Crescent City before he will be able to deliver toys to all the good girls and boys — when Mayor Latoya Cantrell will allow it, that is.
Invoking the same COVID protocol measures she used to cancel Mardi Gras, the Mayor issued executive decrees today canceling the birth of Jesus Christ and making the celebration of Christmas a felony until she says it can be celebrated.
In addition, Cantrell decreed Saint Nick must submit to a 14-day quarantine at the Midtown Hotel New Orleans when the Mayor finally allows Christmas to be celebrated, and the North Pole will have to provide a detailed social distancing plan for toy delivery that must be approved in advance by the Department of Safety and Permits and the City Planning Commission.
Cantrell said her decrees are simply common sense responses and should have little impact on the holiday season. “It’s all about getting stuff and giving stuff,” said the Mayor. “You can still do that from home with Amazon Prime and a credit card. I use credit cards all the time.”
As for Saint Nick, Cantrell has some reservations.
“He’s ancient and out of shape; he eats unhealthily and has helpers do just about everything for him; he’s in the highest high-risk category,” the Mayor said. “Plus, he will have traveled to literally dozens of countries before he gets to New Orleans and likely will be in direct contact with many COVID-19 Omicron variant positive individuals prior to arrival here. Without our fair share, it’s a risk we just can’t take.”
No other Parish or municipality in Louisiana is taking such drastic action, and this has grabbed the attention of some notable local leaders.
Dr. Elaine Hill, head of Ochsner Health’s Abstractology Department and the jolly old elf’s primary care physician, voiced objection to Cantrell’s measures canceling Christmas in New Orleans.
“Santa has been around the blocks millions of times, literally, and is always perfectly fine. Don’t let his appearance fool you, he is in tip-top oblong shape. He must pass a demanding physical I perform every year, and I can tell you that in over 1,750 years he has never tested positive for any kind of malady other than in 1979 A.D. when he was cited by police with a DUI for running over a grandma with his reindeer.”
Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee-Sheng advised that her parish will keep Christmas on December 25th and will not impose any restrictions on Santa.
“I certainly understand where the mayor is coming from and we respect her decision, but Jefferson Parish will continue to do like we have always done, the exact opposite of whatever New Orleans does. It makes my job that much easier when we know what they’re doing so we can go 180.”
Lee-Sheng made clear to Neutral Ground News that she and her Council have been really, really good this year and that their decision for the parish to welcome St. Nick as usual, without complications and double the amount of milk and cookies left to make up for lost wages from other areas, should be noted for posterity.
When several people pointed out the huge disappointment thousands of New Orleans children will experience on Christmas Day, the Mayor replied, “Look, y’all, the data says we gotta do this. I punched the numbers into my calculator and it literally shows 5,318,008 cases could pop up if people are allowed to celebrate Christmas and Santa ain’t quarantined. We’re all in this together and we’re gonna turn ‘Santa Claus’ into ‘Safeta Claus!’ If people don’t like it, let ‘em eat King Cake.”
While many were focused on Santa and getting gifts, just as many were focused on Cantrell canceling the second most holy day in Christendom. The Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans was very critical of that last part, pointing out that one doesn’t simply cancel a sacred religious celebration like the birth of the Lord; much less make it a crime. But the Mayor said the risk of Covid gives her the authority.
“Is Covid in the Constitution? I don’t think so,” replied the Mayor. “The powers of Teedy compels me. I have ordered the NOPD to be on the lookout for lights, trees, and listen out for Christmas carols. Sing ‘Silent Night’ in my town and you’ll be going away for a lot of ‘Solitary Nights!’”
Mayor Cantrell’s order also bans leaving cookies and milk for Santa when he is allowed to show up, makes it a felony to smuggle nativity sets or gift-wrapped toys across the parish line, and bans the possession of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
“I said what I said. I can cancel Easter, too, you know. Covid gives me the power. I won’t hesitate to shut it all down if the fair share data tells me it’s in my… our best interest.”
Late today the North Pole issued a statement in response to the Mayor’s announcement.
“The Mayor has, unfortunately, put us between a Hard Rock and, well, you know. She should remember that Santa Claus knows who’s been naughty, and who’s been nice. And some naughty girl just might find an IRS payment due now invoice in her stocking.”