Catching beads is a Mardi Gras must, but knowing where the float riders get their throws is a trade secret - until now.
Stanley Keller has ridden in both the Krewe of Lul and the Krewe of Des Allemands parades over the years. Keller said he gets most of his beads from Social Concerns in Luling or other local thrift stores. He also looks for ads in the paper to see when people are selling last-yearís catches. He said that going to non-Mardi Gras parades, like St. Patrickís Day, can be another great way to get beads for free.
Kellerís favorites are long beads – 33 inches or longer to be exact. This year, he will be throwing a special selection of purple and gold coconuts and LSU SEC Champion gear in the Krewe of Des Allemands parade.
Lynn Picket, who has been in the Krewe of Des Allemands since its inception, likes to have a variety. She shops around for her throws, going to bigger stores like Cajun Enterprise in Houma. She enjoys throwing stuffed animals and said she finds a good deal of them at Social Concerns or Cajun Village in Boutte.
For those trying to catch the beads, the LSU AgCenter wants to remind you to be safe. Mardi Gras is a fun time of year for Louisiana. Residents are known worldwide for parades, royal balls and Mardi Gras Krewes. As you celebrate this time of year with family and friends, please keep the following tips from Safe Kids Louisiana in mind:
• Establish a meeting place should you get separated at a parade or other Mardi Gras event.
• Place identification with contact information on your child.
• Wear closed-toe shoes at parades.
• Climb on or over barricades.
• Approach horses or other animals participating in the parade unless the rider/owner indicates to you that it is okay.
• Run between or chase floats for beads or throws.
• Reach under a float for anything – even if the float is stopped.