The pandemic has upended a lot of things over the past year, but it can't break the spirit of New Orleans! As today's Mardi Gras celebrations approached, NOLA residents knew they wouldn't be able to party in the streets and throw beads like they usually do. So, they got creative.
The city wasn't surprised, by any means, when the announcement came that Mardi Gras would essentially be canceled, so NOLA had plenty of time to think ahead. How could they bring the typical dozens of parades to a much more socially-distanced medium? Enter: house floats.
The trend has spread throughout New Orleans over the last few months, with more than 3,000 houses across the city and its suburbs decked out in Mardi Gras purple, green and gold fringe and beads. Most households decided to put their own spin on their house floats, coming up and executing themes that just get better and better.
This marks the first-ever Krewe of House Floats, a city-wide initiative born out of social media that keeps track of all the house floats in the area. Private Facebook groups have popped up with DIY-ers fielding advice and offering fresh ideas, and artists who usually make a living off of constructing Mardi Gras floats are getting hired to do up people's homes. Homeowners are meeting with the mayor to finagle hiring a band to play at their house float; lawyers are getting involved to determine how historic properties can be decorated. A campaign is also currently in the works to raise $100,000 for residents struggling with unemployment or food and housing insecurity.
The Krewe has blossomed into a full-fledged organization, with captains, "subkrewes" and even a communications team keeping this thing, well, afloat. This year, Mardi Gras won't be so much about taking to the streets with beads and doubloons, but about swapping routes and making sure the community is supported.
Take a look at just a handful of the house floats that have been constructed around New Orleans and vote your favorite to the top!