During a normal February, New Orleanians out and about might cross paths with a Mardi Gras float motorcade, stopping them in their place for an indeterminate amount of time during a procession not entirely unlike the D.C. version. Then there’s getting around “the box,” the no-go driving zone from Canal Street to Louisiana Avenue that immobilizes cars before, during, and after a parade. This year is not normal, of course. In case you missed it, Mardi Gras parades are canceled, along with balls, parties, and any other official Carnival celebrations.
Mardi Gras is much more than official celebrations, however, and one creative alternative bringing joy to the city and beyond this year is also causing a new kind of traffic — “house float” gawking. After weeks of large-scale crafting and decorating, an official city-wide map has been released for the Krewe of House Floats, a home-based alternative to traditional Mardi Gras parades founded by New Orleanian Megan Boudreaux. The city is dotted with decor on a scale normally reserved for tractor-pulled floats in major parades, with “house float” constructions that range from DIY projects to Mardi Gras World-bought installations. Many of the house floats, like the one at famed restaurant Commander’s Palace, are created with help from out-of-work Carnival artists in partnership with the Krewe of Red Beans’s ‘Hire a Mardi Gras Artist’ initiative. The resulting “Yardi Gras” offers onlookers the chance to admire, from a respectful distance, the wide-ranging handiwork of the many talented individuals that call New Orleans home.
Eater New Orleans is going around town to check out the best restaurant and food-themed house floats and collecting them here. Did we miss a restaurant’s float or a food-themed house float? Let us know. We will continue to update this guide through Mardi Gras, February 16.
For a full list of house floats by neighborhood, see the official Krewe of House Float map.
Commander’s Palace Pete Fountain Tribute
1403 Washington Ave.
Del Fuego ‘Krewe of House Margarita’
4518 Magazine St.
‘Festin’ in Place’
3027 Fortin St.
Leah Chase, ‘Belles of the Bayou #3’
2801 Bell St.
‘Garden of Eatin’
4701 Bancroft Dr.
‘You Can’t Cancel King Cake’
2312 Milan St.
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