Friday, February 12, 2010


On the Mardi Gras Museum tour we learned the Mardi Gras parade was started formally in 1837, a single float, through town, by torchlight. Small beginnings net the amazing tradition we see today.

I liked some of the old designs for costumes and float paintings that lined the walls of this working warehouse.

This crown carriage is and old entry when the wooden wagons were pulled by mules.

Here a worker is making an old figure fatter by adding and shaping strips of Styrofoam. Reusing older pieces is a standard practice. This float making company, Blaines, repaints over 700 floats per year.

This bug is made of fiberglass over steel and allows the float maker to shape thin parts that won’t droop if it rains.

These gigantic figures are from the Zulu Krewe’s entry, the first all black Krewe in the parades.

The Muse Krewe has as its theme, Romance. Here are some of the lessons of Romance on their float which is scheduled for tonight’s parade. They are throwing shoes. The rules are you can throw anything from a float that will not hurt anyone. The shoes were all wrapped and decorated and can hurt, so they are actually handed out.

Other interesting things about the parades: The people on the floats pay as much as $650 to ride a float. That doesn’t include the money they pay for throw-aways. They can bring food and drink aboard and most of the floats have toilets on them. Collectively, they fling two billion beads into the crowds every year. The rule I like the best? No ads are allowed on the floats or on the throwaways.

A lot of famous people are represented here, Presidents, Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, Mahatma Gandhi, sports figures, and so on.

We saw a movie about float building, past grand marshals, and historic Mardi Gras. We were served King Cake, another tradition during Mardi Gras. The float figures are a delight.

Floats are built in this city and other cities for numerous celebrations, like Irish days, where they throw cabbage, potatoes and carrots. You can always go home and make soup.

For an interesting, fairly short history on Mard Gras, try the link below:

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