© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

Public art

With Mardi Gras parades cancelled, New Orleans artists create House Floats

Local artists and designers have used their float decorating skills to turn neighbourhood houses into lavishly festooned marvels

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.

A Van Gogh themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

The New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts created a Van Gogh themed House Float for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A supernatural House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A dinosaur themed House Float, produced by Kern Studios
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A dinosaur themed House Float in New Orleans, produced by Kern Studios

Homeowners Stacey and Mike with their House Float honouring Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco music, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans
Photo: Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee, Courtesy of the Krewe of Red Beans

Homeowners Stacey and Mike Burke with their House Float honouring Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco music, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans

A Little Shop of Horrors themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A Little Shop of Horrors themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

“The Queen’s Jubilee” House Float, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans
Photo: Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee, Courtesy of the Krewe of Red Beans

“The Queen’s Jubilee” House Float in New Orleans, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

New Orleans hip-hop star Big Freedia at a Queen of Bounce House Float

A Schitt's Creek themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A Schitt's Creek themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A “Birds of Bulbancha” themed House Float commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans, carries the Choctaw name of the region
Photo: Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee, Courtesy of the Krewe of Red Beans

A “Birds of Bulbancha” themed House Float, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans, carries the Choctaw name of the region

A balloon themed House Float in New Orleans, decorated for Mardi Gras
Photo: Diallo Jamal via Flickr

A balloon themed House Float in New Orleans, decorated for Mardi Gras

A “Feng Shui” themed House Float, designed by Caroline Thomas, commissied by the Krewe of Red Beans
Courtesy of the Krewe of Red Beans

A “Feng Shui” themed House Float, designed by Caroline Thomas, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
Photo: Diallo Jamal via Flickr

An ABBA themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A 2021 themed House Float with decorations by Travis Keene and Joey Mercer, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans
Courtesy the Krewe of Red Beans

A 2021 themed House Float with decorations by Travis Keene and Joey Mercer, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans

A Coronavirus themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A Coronavirus themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A candy themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A candy themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
Photo: Diallo Jamal via Flickr

A college football themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” themed House Float, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans
Photo: Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee, Courtesy of the Krewe of Red Beans

A “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” themed House Float, commissioned by the Krewe of Red Beans

An Edgar Allen Poe House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

An Edgar Allen Poe House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A lego themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A lego themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A Black Panther themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A Black Panther themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A shark week themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A shark week themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A Wonder Woman themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A Wonder Woman themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A tarot themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A tarot themed House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras
© 2021 Krewe of House Floats / Allen Boudreaux

A House Float in New Orleans decorated for Mardi Gras

A Bernie effigy in New Orleans waits for next year's Mardi Gras  parades
Photo: Diallo Jamal via Flickr

A Bernie effigy in New Orleans waits for next year's Mardi Gras parades