Due to Covid-19 the Mardi Gras parades have been cancelled but the holiday will be celebrated. This will be the 13th such cancellation since the celebration began in 1857. New Orleans is a resilient town. The people here know how to handle adversity. Two parallel approaches are assuring a colorful and exciting Mardi Gras celebration for 2021.
Usually, people gather along a parade route and watch as the parades pass. This year the floats will be houses all around town. The spectators will pass by houses. This allows the revelers to be outside and safely physically distanced.
The Krewe of Red Beans https://hireamardigrasartist.com/ is spearheading an ambitious plan of action. They are employing the professional artists, designers and craft people whose normal livelihood is creating the amazing parade floats. Instead of creating mobile displays they will decorate porches and houses. For every $15,000 donated, a lucky homeowner will have a professionally decorated “porch float.” https://www.feedthesecondline.org There will be 40 of these amazing House Floats around town.
The other track is a groundswell of DIY decoration of porches, yards and even windows. The LLC Krewe of House Floats was created by Megan Boudreaux and has grown to include over 7,000 members. Every neighborhood has picked a theme. People have formed ad hoc krewes. To find out about your favorite neighborhood’s theme check here. https://www.kreweofhousefloats.org
This year the parade will run for 16 days, allowing everyone to enjoy the fete while staying masked and being physically distanced. The city will issue official maps. Everyone who participates can personalize his or her experience. There will be plenty of time to check out different neighborhoods at a comfortable pace. For visitors, that means a chance to explore places you might not have gone in years past.
Keep in mind that masks are required whenever you are out in public. The watchword from the city about enjoying the many house floats is “Look, Don’t Linger.”
The other component of carnival is a long-standing tradition—masques. This year they require anyone who wants to take part to wear masks that cover the mouth and nose. Masques should also show a sense of style, flair and flamboyance.
What does the new plan mean for visitors? It means that Mardi Gras will be celebrated. It means that the vibrant, exciting holiday will be a singular experience unlike any other year. It means a more fully family friendly event. It means a carnival that will encourage exploration. It means that there will be amazing things to do and still many reasons to enjoy New Orleans in February, 2021.
Not everyone will be able to make it out to the streets. To include those who need to stay safe at home please post photos of your decorations to social media with the hashtag #kreweofhousefloats!
Check back on February First. We will have a link to the official map, and some sneak peaks at what you might want to see. Jill at the Chimes www.chimesneworleans.com, firstname.lastname@example.org