NEW ORLEANS — All around New Orleans and across Louisiana thousands of houses are being decorated as Mardi Gras floats after the coronavirus pandemic canceled crowded parades for the 2021 Carnival season.
Houses are to be decorated at least two weeks before Fat Tuesday, which is Feb. 16 this year. With widespread addresses and two weeks to gawk, the hope is that people will spread out widely in time and space.
On Monday, the Krewe of House Floats published the map of decorated homes - About 3,000, including a few as far afield as England and Australia, will have their houses on an official online map.
Several mansions along a short stretch of St. Charles Avenue had elaborate displays with signs noting their creation by one of the city’s biggest float-making studios.
How the Krewe of House Floats formed
The “house float” movement started almost as soon as a New Orleans spokesman announced Nov. 17 that parades were off.
That morning, Megan Joy Boudreaux posted what she later called a silly Twitter joke: “We’re doing this. Turn your house into a float and throw all the beads from your attic at your neighbors walking by.”
But the more she thought about it, the more she liked it. She started a Facebook group, the Krewe of House Floats, expecting a few friends and neighbors to join. The numbers rose. Thirty-nine subgroups evolved to discuss neighborhood plans.
By Carnival season’s official start Jan. 6, the group had more than 9,000 members, including out-of-state “expats."
Devin DeWulf, who already had started two pandemic charities as head of the Krewe of Red Beans walking club, kicked the house float idea up a few notches at the suggestion of Caroline Thomas, a professional float designer. Their “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist” crowdfunded lotteries collected enough money to put crews to work decorating 11 houses, plus commissioned work at two more houses and seven businesses.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.