After four Mardi Gras as a spectator here in New Orleans, I am so so so excited to join the other perspective - as a rider on a float in a parade!! There are dozens of parades through the city between the beginning of January and Mardi Gras, from little mini homemade parades to GIGANTIC highly produced ones, and I’ll be rolling with one of the bigger, more established ones. The Krewe of King Arthur rolls on Sunday, Feb 20, and my two neighbors, John and Chris, are lieutenants of the Krewe and invited me to join! I’ll be on one of the Royalty 2021 floats because Chris is “Merlin” and John is “King Arthur” from the canceled parades of 2021, which is such an honor! I’ll be one of the masked, drunken distributors of pure joy and cheap plastic shit!!
We load up the floats the day before with bags and bags and bags of our throws (beads, plushies, etc.), then party and get to know each other while watching Saturday parades. Then Sunday, we load up onto the floats pretty early in the day, then ride speedily from the storage area to the start of the route. When the parade starts, the floats slowly process through Uptown neighborhoods, with marching bands and dancing krewes interspersed between the floats. Us riders spend the next 4 or 5 hours choosing people in the crowd to get their attention and throwing THEM something from our stash. Everyone has different demographics they like to decide to throw to. My friend John likes to throw single older ladies in the crowd and obnoxious college girls on their boyfriends' shoulders (but he has plastic cockroaches for them!!). I’ve got a TON of marijuana leaf throws, as well as some oyster, shrimp, and penis beads.
There are quite a few rules for riders. The tradition dictates that riders remain anonymous, so we have to wear a mask (not the usual covid) each time we're visible from the float. Plus, we’re required to wear harnesses in case we fall over the edge and provide our throws in matching costumes. To give to lucky chosen people in the crowd, we decorate plastic grails. I’m making cute porcelain oysters, strawberries, crawfish, etc., medallions from my molds to glue on my grails.
If you want one of my grails, come to the parade with a sign to get my attention!! I’ll be on Merlin’s float, 7A, on the second level, sidewalk side, second from the front. Send me a message here or on Instagram, too, so that I know to look for you!
If you're not in town this weekend you can still bring Nola to your couch with one of our special edition Mardi Gras 2022 Pipes!