In a press conference last week, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (a Democratic governor in a very red state) encouraged citizens to participate in three days of fasting and prayer during their lunch hour from July 20 to July 22. Edwards’ spiritual call came as he announced the new mask mandate and closure of bars by executive order that went into effect on Monday, July 13, 2020. Louisiana was one of the hardest hit states this past spring by the coronavirus and is once again seeing spikes. As of last Friday, Louisiana registered 88,590 cases, with 3,399 dead and 1,413 in the hospital, according to The Times-Picayune.
The virus exploded in the state back in March, with the epicenter in New Orleans, where Mardi Gras celebrations had just drawn more than 1 million people. Louisiana suffered, no doubt about that. And the virus is on the rise there again.
But it’s also true that the state actually rose to the occasion by keeping its numbers lower, particularly in the state’s northern region around Shreveport, up near the Texas and Arkansas borders. Louisiana has the second-largest population of Black people in the United States (32 percent) and health officials feared an outbreak due to health disparities. Louisiana ranks 49th in America’s annual CDC health rankings.