Not even a pandemic can stop New Orleans from celebrating Mardi Gras. While the city’s official Carnival parades in January and February have been cancelled this year because of Covid-19, local artists and designers have used their float decorating skills to turn neighbourhood houses into lavishly festooned Mardi Gras marvels. And instead of crowding along congested parade routes, people are encouraged to visit the houses more safely on socially distanced personal tours, on foot or by car, with a number of maps provided by groups such as the Krewe of House Floats. Each house follows a creative theme, honouring heroes such as the city’s nurses, or pop culture icons including the cast of Schitt’s Creek and Bernie Sanders with his mittens. The New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts has even created a tribute to the painter Vincent Van Gogh, complete with large-scale Sunflowers and Irises. Those outside of New Orleans can also join in on the festivities by helping to support out-of-work artists. The Krewe of Red Beans started a crowdfunding campaign to “Hire a Mardi Gras Artist”, raising more than $100,000 to commission decorations for 20 houses, and will now use future funds to install public art around the city. The idea has proved so popular that there are already plans to continue to the tradition next year, even if the parades return. Here are some of our favourites.