When birthday parties got canceled because of COVID, birthdays did not: People adjusted, creating drive-by parades and drive-through events.
When many people canceled their Christmas plans amid virus spikes in various states, Christmas still went on and many families celebrated together through video chats.
In November, Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned that 2021 would bring a different kind of celebration.
“Mardi Gras 2021 is not canceled, just different,” she posted on Facebook. “The COVID pandemic is a reality that we must all continue to confront together, and we are working closely with our krewe captains and our community to determine what Carnival will look like at a time when our resources are stretched so thin and many of our traditions present dangers to public health.
“We expect to confirm additional details in the weeks ahead, and to celebrate Mardi Gras Day in a new way that reflects our new reality. We are all in this together.”
In light of the news, an idea was created and a name was born: Yardi Gras.
That’s exactly what it sounds like. In a festival version of Christmas, people have chosen to deck out their homes like parade floats, and the results have been amazing. It started with one woman’s realization.
“I made kind of an offhand comment, ‘Well, you know, everybody’s got 200 pounds of beads in their attic. I’ll just decorate my house and I’ll throw some beads to my neighbors’,” Megan Boudreaux, who dreamed up the idea that resulted in Krewe of Houses, told WDSU-TV.
She posted about it on Twitter, the idea took off and people jumped into planning porch displays and yard art.
Initially, the plan to cancel the parade was seriously bad news to the artists who would normally work on the floats — but now, they’re being offered work this year and even getting bookings for next year.
“I don’t know a single person on there who is not completely booked up!” Dom Graves, one of the float artists, said. “The house float idea has been so popular and it has been so positive for us that we’re swamped!
“I think this decorating of houses is going to continue and the demand for artists is going to go up.”
A map is also underway, so that people can catch a glimpse of all the participating houses.
The event is also being used to raise awareness and funds for those who don’t have homes to decorate or food on the table.
The general feeling is that this movement, which rose from the ashes of the parade plans, will become a permanent feature for area homes. It has brought so much joy already that people are already hyped at the thought of it becoming a tradition.
“To see our people, the spirit of our people, is just unreal,” Cherisse Hoffman, who was walking with her son and looking at some of the displays, said. “It gives me chills.”
“Mardi Gras is in our soul. You can’t take that away.”
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