Louisiana's lt. gov: 'I was wrong' to advocate to continue parades, conventions amid coronavirus

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) admitted he was “wrong” on Sunday for advocating that parades and conferences in New Orleans go on despite the growing coronavirus crisis.

Nungesser apologized to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell for criticizing her decision to cancel events like the St. Patrick’s Day parades, on CNN. He said he “absolutely” regrets his comments. 

“So the mayor did the right thing,” he said. “In hindsight, I was wrong and she was right.”

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“I was looking at the tourism aspect of it and not knowing what was to come in the weeks to follow that,” he added.

Cantrell canceled New Orleans's events in early March, including the parades, prompting Nungesser to condemn her decision, saying in a USA Today interview that it would cause a ripple effect in the tourism industry.

"It sends a message to conventions and anyone coming to the city that it might not be safe," he had said.

The lieutenant governor said Sunday that the state government also would have taken a different approach to Mardi Gras, which took place Feb. 25, “if we had knowledge of what was to come.” He acknowledged that some of the people at Mardi Gras “surely” wouldn’t have contracted COVID-19 if it was canceled. 

“Mardi Gras is a big celebration. It brings a lot of people to Louisiana, and in hindsight had we known we probably would have taken different action,” he said. 

The state had received criticism for continuing to host Mardi Gras celebrations as the coronavirus was beginning to take hold in the U.S. in mid-February.  

Louisiana has confirmed 21,016 cases of coronavirus leading to 884 deaths, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. The Orleans Parish has identified 5,651 of those cases and 244 deaths.