I haven’t told the kids that Mardi Gras Parades are cancelled yet. I think deep down they know but just haven’t asked. It’s sad because as soon as Christmas is over everyone in our house is looking forward to parades. However, much like other things that have been cancelled this year, it has been important to me to keep the spirit of the event alive. We fested in place for Jazz, French Quarter and Satchmo Fests and in that spirit we will Mardi Gras in place this February.
We love the parades and being on the avenue, the brunches and all of the glitter. It’s part of Mardi Gras but it isn’t all of MARDI GRAS. To me Mardi Gras is looking at my kids dancing in the streets and seeing the absolute joy on their faces. It’s that feeling you get in your soul when you hear the first strike of a drum in a bands cadence. It’s the conversations and laughter while waiting for the parade to start. All of those things can happen this year while Mardi Gras is on hold. Because even though parades aren’t happening this year we can celebrate in a new way in 2021 and, when they happen again, we will be there when it does.
So what are we going to do this year to keep that spirit alive? Well here are a few things.
The Krewe of House Floats
Since the decision was made to cancel the 2021 parades the Krewe of Red Beans has been created a way to keep Mardi Gras artists employed. Mardi Gras is an entire industry in New Orleans. We have artists and creators that spend an entire year creating the floats that line the avenue on parade days. Most krewes say that it takes a full 12 months to create a single parade. All of these artists have been without work during the pandemic and now because of Mardi Gras parades being cancelled.
The Krewe of Red Beans has a HIRE A MARDI GRAS ARTIST Website where you can donate and be entered into a raffle to have your home made into a float. The goal is to have 40 house floats in total by Mardi Gras.
Another initiative is the Krewe of House Floats. We decided to participate as a Make Your Own Float and are Krewe De King: A View of the Avenue Bead Trees on the Northshore!
Krewe De King
I had to idea to join this before I even had a plan. It was kind of one of those times when you just throw caution to the wind and join and figure things out later. One thing I enjoy seeing each year are the beads in the trees along At. Charles Avenue. They can recreate parades a lot of places but the bead trees are native to New Orleans. I wanted to bring a view of that to the Northshore.
This was the initial idea. We made the trees out of foam core board and my mom drew the trees.
The kids were excited to be involved so rather than just have the trees be brown we bought some brown paint in a variety of colors and let them make artistic bark.
Peyton was out sign captain and made our float sign and yard sign.
I had looked at a few homes on the Southshore who had silhouettes of parade revelers and wanted to see if I could recreate them with my kids. The hardest part was cutting out the fingers. Several coats of black spray paint and a lot of duct tape they stand up on the boys parade ladders.
It took us most of Saturday and part od Sunday to get it all up but here is the finished House Float.
The final thing we wanted our float to have was a place for families to come and take pictures together. Some of my favorite family pictures have been taken on the Avenue and I wanted a place to recreate that this year.
We love to decorate the front of our house with beads and other MG items to make the season feel more lively. This year Fleurty Girl has come up with the term Yardi Gras. They have this amazing yard set that looks like a parade has come to your house.
Another idea is to hang beads on your fence. If you have ever been to Mardi Gras then you have seen the beads lining the fences all over uptown. It is truly magnificent.
Big or small you can add a little something that will make your yard fun and perfect for the holiday.
King Cake is definitely not cancelled. There is an entire season for cake in New Orleans and the biggest reason why it is the best place on earth. You can order them and have them delivered or pick them up or if you are a die hard you can stand in line.
Some places you can grab a King Cake:
- King Cake Hub – This King Cake grocery store has over 60 options from all over New Orleans.
- Dong Phuong
- Haydel’s Bakery
- Maurices Bakery
- Randazzo’s New Orleans King Cakes
- Nona Randazzo‘s
- Gambino’s Bakery
- Clauda’s King Cake
- Hi Do Bakery
- Sugar Love Bakery
- Bywater Bakery
- Cannatas King Cake
- Gracious Bakery
- Bread’s on Oak
- The NOCCA Marketplace
- Bittersweet Confections
- Antoine’s Bakery
- Shake Sugary
- Laurel Street Bakery
- Willa Jean
- Cochon Butcher
- District Donuts
I know I am missing some and if you want me to add someone to this list email me.
Buy LOCAL Merchandise
I know that all of us have been doing more to buy local and shop in our hometowns this year but now more than ever they need our help. Many of these businesses placed orders for their Mardi Gras merchandise before the decision was made not to have parades. The merchandise they have ordered will be sitting on their shelves if we don’t act.
Some shops to look at…
- Fleurty Girl: The new shirt, “The one where Mardi Gras didn’t happen is my favorite”.
- Golden Lily: They will be selling my Mardi Gras sunglasses again this year.
- Fringe and Co: I may just be the most disappointed to miss their Sequin Second Line.
- Sparkle City: Always there with the sparkle sweaters!
- Elektra Cosmetics: Makeup, Glitter, Face Pigments and more!
This may be the year we don’t need our sequin booty shorts and marching boots but true Mardi Gras lives in our hearts and we hope to have parades back soon!