New Orleans: The Grinch That Stole Mardi Gras

A nasty fuss about a new anti-discrimination law casts a pall of gloom over the city's big carnival

With Mardi Gras season under way, New Orleans was caught up last week in its traditional flurry of preparations for the 10-day pre-Lenten revelry. But much of the euphoria that usually surrounds the celebration has been replaced this year by anger and anxiety. Reason: an ordinance passed by a unanimous vote of the seven-member city council last December that requires the racially and sexually homogeneous private organizations that stage the carnival to stop discriminating or lose their right to parade.

Though the law would not take full effect until 1994, opposition has been swift and forceful. The 60 carnival groups, known...

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