New Orleans Residents Are Decorating Their Houses Amid Mardi Gras Cancellation, and It's Amazing
To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently announced that all in-person Mardi Gras parades will not be allowed to operate this year. Mardi Gras is one of many large in-person celebrations to hit pause this year due to the pandemic, but that doesn't mean it won't still be celebrated. The mayor's office released a statement reassuring the people of New Orleans that Mardi Gras 2021 is "not cancelled, just different." The jubilant holiday known for its colorful beads, king cakes, and extravagant decorations is also the pinnacle season of tourism and foot traffic for Nola, a fighting backbone to the parade prohibition.
To keep the Mardi Gras spirit alive and in a modified fashion, Mayor Cantrell asked the community to brainstorm safe and COVID-19-friendly ways to celebrate the carnival season. The mayor explained that Mardi Gras is "a season of traditions that we celebrate every year, a time that the community comes together in formal, fun, and often unexpected ways," and that shouldn't go unnoticed this year. As of a result, community members came up with Yardi Gras, a miniature version of the traditional Mardi Gras parade, encouraging Nola residents to pizzazz their houses, front porches, and business as if they were parade floats. It's also a great way to support local artists and float builders who've lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Krewe of Red Beans created the Hire a Mardi Gras Artist program, where residents can make a donation to the fund and in exchange, enter the chance for their house to be carnival-sized!
It wouldn't feel like Mardi Gras without the splashes of purple, green, and gold, and gigantic cutouts and statues. From Bernie Sanders-themed yards to Dolly Parton tributes to house floats paying homage to Creole legends, the Nola community has truly outdone themselves this year. See some of our favorites ahead!
Thanking Front-Line Workers
A nod to all front-line workers who've been protecting us during the pandemic, a New Orleans Popeyes decorated their storefront with a banner recognizing nurses, doctors, police officers, and the armed forces. The store also added life-size statues of workers on the rooftop saluting those who pass by.
Queen of Creole Cuisine
Leah Chase — AKA Queen of Creole Cuisine — has a house float dedicated solely for her and her famous pot of gumbo! For a special effect, the artists added a smoke machine so it looks like the gumbo is piping hot.
Mardi Gras Jester
We don't know how big this Mardi Gras jester is, but we're guessing it has to be setting some kind of record for tallest jester in the world. The jester is a Mardi Gras emblem and is one of the most important Mardi Gras decorations to include in a float. It would be like forgetting the beads. You can't have Mardi Gras without the beads and a jester!
Love at the Bayou
A play on words, this "how sweet it is to be loved bayou" house float celebrates music and the Louisiana bayou. Before climbing the steps, guests are greeted with two crocodiles who's tails are shaped into a heart.
Georgia on My Mind
The Georgia on My Mind house float highlights politicians Stacey Abrams, Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff, Shortly Chisholm, and John Lewis. Signage saying "Good Trouble" and "Bright Future" accompanied by Georgia peaches hang on either side of the house.
Created by Royal Artists, this garden-themed house float is pinned with beautiful ladybugs and floral arrangements.
The greatest meme of 2021 (so far): Bernie Sanders at Joe Biden's inauguration. The hilarious pose has found its way all over the internet, and now it's a Mardi Gras house float!
This house on St. Charles Avenue went for a Saint Dolly tribute. The house float recognizes Parton for her southern roots and music with two large-scale guitars and a full body cutout of Dolly herself. A yellow poster with "vaccine" written to the tune of Parton's "Jolene" is planted in the yard, thanking the singer for her donation towards funding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Many residents found ways to honor their city and New Orleans roots, but this house took a different route and praised their favorite TV show! The Schitt's Creek-themed Yardi Gras showcases caricatures of the Rose family as well as David's iconic sweater collection and a Rose Apothecary placard.
The Nine Muses
Greek mythology and the nine Muses took over the Kewe of Muses Cosmos House. Detailed portraits of all nine Muses — Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomeni, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope — hug the front of the house.
Labeled "Mystic Krewe of Unicorns," this house opted for a non-traditional color sequence and pastel aesthetic. Life-size unicorn motifs line the staircase with bright, frilly textures.
Birds of Bulbancha
The Birds of Bulbancha House is another installation of the Krewe of Red Beans house float projects and honors the Choctaw name for the land, according to Nola.com. The house float on LePage St. can be seen from streets away with it's vibrant color palette and unique designs.
All of Dr. Seuss' favorite characters are on display at this Dr. Seuss-themed house float, including Thing 1 and Thing 2. Another Krewe project, the house was nicknamed "Krewe de Seuss."
If you've ever experienced Mardi Gras in person you know it has a bit of a circus feel. There's food, music, and entertainment everywhere, and this Nola house captured it perfectly with its circus-themed details.
A dinosaur-themed house, this yard is decked out in full Dino Gras decor and it looks like a few very real-looking dinosaurs were in attendance, too! Accents of the traditional Mardi Gras colors purple, green, and gold can be found throughout the scene.
A notable Nola location, the Acadiana Hay Ride House paid homage to zydeco pioneers Boozoo Chavis, Clifton Chenier, and the "Cajun Hank Williams." With an accordion cutout at the top, each of the male talents is honored with his own personalized cutout and instrument. Krewe of Red Beans sponsored the decorations as part of their Yardi Gras house floats.