Decorating for Mardi Gras is a new habit for me, but it’s quickly become one of my favorites. It starts with taking down the red and green glass balls and my fussy handmade Christmas ornaments and replacing them with silly handmade purple, green and gold ornaments and medallions from beads caught in previous parades. Just like unpacking my Christmas ornaments is like a trip down a candy-cane lined memory lane, now taking out my Mardi Gras ornaments transports me back to St. Charles Avenue, catching prize medallions from Muses or Bacchus or Thoth. My treasures are my 4 strands of beads thrown by Saints at the Victory Parade after the 2010 Super Bowl. I marked each with a handmade Sculpey medallion, 2 shaped as footballs. This year, I added a strand of purple, green and gold lights and I plan to lay them on a little thicker next year.
The next part of the redecorating is the wreath. Because the Saints made it to the playoffs, I left my Who Dat wreath up past Christmas, never redressing it with red bows and pinecones. The wreath went straight from Who Dat season to Carnival time as I wrapped it with purple, green and gold beads.
Lastly, I beaded the fence and gate. Then I went for a nice walk through the neighborhood to take a look at everyone else’s handiwork. The whole city is preparing. Bleachers have been erected on St. Charles and in Metairie. King Cakes are on most every local menu, even if only as a cocktail flavor. There’s even a company who put out a King Cake flavored vodka.
And the warm-up acts have already begun. Sunday night, I heard a brass band and looked out to find Krewe Deux Boobs, a walking parade that raises money for breast cancer survivors and their families. Maybe it’s normal in your neighborhood for parades of pink-costumed people to roll by throwing beads and dancing in the street, but I’m still thrilled every time.