Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

In New Orleans, residents are turning their homes into Mardi Gras parade floats

New Orleans residents have found a creative — and safe — way to celebrate Mardi Gras.

The traditional parades have been canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, so people across the city are decorating the outsides of their homes just like they would floats. Some houses have themes, like Alice in Wonderland or Dr. Seuss, and others enhance the atmosphere by setting up bubble machines on their porches. They aren't all doing it by themselves, though — many are hiring artists who otherwise wouldn't be working due to the festivities being called off.

"The houses are great," ceramicist Ré Howse told The American South. "But the real beauty is people coming together and figuring out how to do this. It has given so many people energy and something to look forward to." Howse has spent several days crafting large, colorful flowers for people to put on their house floats, and has helped her neighbors cover their homes with assorted flora and fauna.

"This is our way to show our complete pride in our city and in our culture," Howse said. "New Orleans will have yet another tradition that will set us apart." It looks like Howse is right: some artists have been booked to design house floats in 2022 and 2023, a sign that this new way of celebrating might be here to stay. Catherine Garcia