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Parading at home: Krewe of House Floats keeps Mardi Gras spirit alive

A front yard adorned with colorful Mardi Gras lights, an array of bugs and a cutout of Nick Saban.

New Orleans: the city known for its music, food, and rich culture that runs through the hearts of people from all backgrounds. One particular event that goes on every year is known as Mardi Gras, and is celebrated with rounds of parades, jazz music playing all around, and most importantly, the ornately decorated floats that many artists in the city put their hearts and souls into. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell had to cancel the long awaited parades, leaving many float artists in search of jobs.

Despite this hard decision, New Orleanians took it upon themselves to keep the Mardi Gras spirits high by creating a parade route with their own houses, known as the Krewe of House Floats. For those who participated, homeowners hired an artist to decorate the front of their houses as they would for Mardi Gras floats. Citizens in the city were free to drive or take a stroll by the house float parade route to see the decorated houses.

All of the decorated houses that I saw on my drive throughout the city were fun to look at, and it kept a smile on the faces of my grandpa, grandma, and brother throughout the ride. We saw a range of decorations, from dinosaurs to a circus-themed house, and of course, some New Orleans Saints pride. Overall, it was a great experience to be a part of, and it was wonderful for people of all ages to enjoy.

My favorite house was definitely the dinosaur-themed house. Located on St. Charles with many oak trees and plants surrounding it, the yard had replicas of titanosaurs and pterodactyls. The dinosaurs were life-sized and looked as if they just came from the “Jurassic Park” set. Of course, each of the dinosaurs on display were showing their Mardi Gras pride, wearing green, purple, and yellow beads. The titanosaur even had a sparkly hat sitting on its head as it gazed into the crowd. In the bushes, the pterodactyls showcased their sharp, scary teeth. Although my family and I were driving by in a car, the other people gathering around it were also amazed at the decorations. In the trees, there were big Mardi Gras-colored ornaments. The only downside to this house is that it was really popular, and many people crowded around it, making it difficult to see while driving.

Driving around the city on a regular Saturday was a little difficult, since the city had opened back up since the lockdown. You may have run into a bit of traffic which means it could take a while before getting to each house. Although the official map for the Krewe of House Floats had yet to be released in late January, it was fairly easy to spot the parade homes. We drove around Uptown and there were plenty to see.

Of course, it’s sad to think that we missed out on the traditional parades, watching the high school bands march and catching all of the goodies, but the Krewe of House Floats did a wonderful job of keeping the Mardi Gras tradition alive. Not only did it give artists an opportunity to showcase their wonderful talents, but it gave them a job—which was important as artists have been especially affected since the pandemic began. Whether you wanted to walk by or drive by, these houses did not fail to awe you with their artistic decorations. Perhaps this new tradition will continue on for years to come!

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