Signature throws, colorful beads, delicious food and a whole lot of fun – these are just a few of the things that make Mardi Gras special. And while the festive gatherings that usually facilitate those things – parades – have been cancelled throughout the New Orleans region for 2021, there is now an alternate plan to still celebrate the holiday.
That plan, the Krewe of House Floats, was created when New Orleans resident Megan Boudreaux posted an idea to social media. The idea took off and rapidly grew into an organization with more than 7,500 members.
The formation of the new krewe stems from the desire to still celebrate Mardi Gras 2021 in a safe, responsible way during the era of social distancing.
“It started off as a Twitter joke and now everyone wants to participate,” Boudreaux said of people decorating their homes like Mardi Gras floats. “We look forward to this not only being a way for people to safely celebrate Carnival season, but also as an opportunity to help our city’s culture bearers.”
The decoration of house floats began on King’s Day, Jan. 6 – the official start of the Carnival season. Nearly 40 neighborhood subkrewes have formed throughout the greater New Orleans region, including St. Charles Parish. There is even a subkrewe for NOLA expats in other states who, unable to return home for Carnival season festivities, will be celebrating with house floats from afar.
Luling resident Rosie Young is the captain of the St. Charles Parish subkrewe.
“Each krewe has come up with their own parade theme, and ours is ‘St. Charles Parish Takes A Trip Around The World,’” Young said. “My house’s theme is Venice, Italy.”
Young said she will use paint, cardboard, creations from her Cricut machine and maybe some lights to decorate her home. She first heard about the traditional parade alternative from her cousin, who is an artist living in Gretna.
“They needed a captain for St. Charles Parish … someone local who knew people and could get people to get involved,” Young said. “So that’s where I come in.”
She said the nearly 30 St. Charles Parish residents who signed up to decorate their homes were instructed to decorate simply as they would for Christmas or as elaborately as an to mimic an actual Mardi Gras float.
A map of all local homes, as well as every home in the country participating in the Krewe of House Floats, will be available starting Feb. 1 at www.kreweofhousefloats.org. Harahan resident Charlie Jallans-Daly, who is helping to organize the maps, said a total of 2,400 homes will be included.
Organizers have encouraged all participants to have their decorations up from Feb. 1 – Feb. 16, which is Mardi Gras Day. And while it isn’t a requirement for krewe participants to be home Feb. 16, Young said many of them will be and will be passing out throws, including parish-specific signature throws.
“I love Mardi Gras,” Young said. “My favorite parade is probably the Krewe of Lul because we get to stay home … we live right off the route … and have people over. I don’t want to give that up. We’ve had to give up so much already.”