NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A week ago, revelers jammed bars in the French Quarter and New Orleans' Irish Channel neighborhood ahead of St. Patrick's Day while hotels, taverns and restaurants looked ahead to what is usually a lucrative festival season.
Now, the party is suddenly and decisively over. Coronavirus dread has settled uncomfortably over this most social of cities, where public gatherings are banned and 15 of Louisiana's 20 COVID-19 deaths had been recorded as of Saturday.
While Gov. John Bel Edwards openly worries that the state's ability to deliver health care could be overwhelmed in another week, the metro area has become one of the nation's hot spots for the virus, home to the vast majority of the more than 760 infected statewide.
Two new testing