Viewpoint: It’s time to put that mask back on

A crowd gathers on the Jazz & Heritage Stage to see a performance by the Mardi Gras Indians. (Photo by Paul Broussard)

Those readers who know me personally will understand my deep commitment to the Greek Festival, which returns after a two-year hiatus over Memorial Day weekend. During a visit to the Greek Church earlier this week, the festival’s longtime operations manager, who is from Texas, said, “I see you’re wearing a mask again,” to which I replied, “I’ve never stopped wearing a mask.”

Just before Jazz Fest, I wrote about a local friend, a decades-long fest enthusiast, who wanted to masquerade at the fairgrounds, despite being fully vaccinated and refreshed. Impractical, I thought, and way too hot to mask. He recently flew home after a packed two weeks of attending the festival for seven days, gorging on ice-cold watermelons in the WWOZ tent, watching late-night performances like singer John Boutté at dba, and dining with old friends at Peche. Brennans and Doris Metropolitan. He even grabbed an oyster po’boy at Kenner Seafood Market on his way to the airport.

When his flight landed in New York, he had the dreaded Covid cough. Positive test results soon followed. I attempted to book an appointment at the CVS Minute Clinic in Claiborne and Napoleon that same day, but the schedule was full for the next three days. So I waited patiently for almost two hours, like an airline on-call duty, for the staff to squeeze me inside. I was already in the clinic after the first Jazzfest Sunday when another friend tested positive. Although I tested negative, I gave away my festival tickets.

The CVS nurse who attended the celebration was surprised I never caught Covid. Almost everyone has had it before. Luckily my test was negative again.

These days, emergency room clinics are teeming with sick patients. This strain of coronavirus – more contagious than previous strains – has caught many people off guard, like a former state senator who caught Covid at Jazz Fest and brought it home to Mama. The next strain could be even worse. Let’s be clear – otherwise healthy people still die needlessly from this disease.

The Covid spring break is over. It’s time to put that mask back on, especially indoors. It’s time to get the hand sanitizer out again. If you haven’t received all your vaccinations and booster shots yet, make an appointment today. We will have another summer of Covid infections. How it affects your life is mostly up to you. Just like during hurricane season, take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe.

AUSTIN BADON HOLDS 2023 RE-ELECTION FUND FIGHT

Despite recently losing a fierce bid for the criminal district clerk, First City Court clerk Austin Badon has started a fundraiser for his re-election in 2023. As a member of the political organization BOLD, Badon may face stiff competition in next year’s race, but is moving forward with full optimism.

The Badon event, hosted by former sheriff and attorney general Charles Foti along with his two legal partners, Lewis Kahn and Michael Swick, is scheduled for June 1 at the downtown law office of Kahn, Swick & Foti.

Elected officials on the invitation include Mayor LaToya Cantrell, former US Senator Mary Landrieu, Court Clerk Chelsey Richards Napoleon, Medical Examiner Dwight McKenna, State Representatives Mandie Landry and Candace Newell, School Board members Katie Baudouin, JC Romero and Nolan Marshall, and the Boissiere duo: Constable Lambert Boissiere Jr. and PSC Commissioner Lambert Boissiere III, who is running for re-election this fall. The suggested donation to Badon’s fundraiser is $500.

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, gives her opinion on Thursdays. Her career has included stints at City Hall, the Dock Board, and the Orleans Parish School Board, and past clients such as former District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, Councilman Jared Brossett, Councilwoman Helena Moreno at large, Foster Campbell, and former Lt. gov. Jay Dardenne, former sheriff Charles Foti, and former councilwomen Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. She is a member of the Democratic Community Board. Columbus can be reached at [email protected]

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