February 14 2021
February 2021 found New Orleans still deeply in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic, putting the city in the difficult decision of having to cancel all Mardi Gras Parades, and even closing the downtown’s bars and restricting access to Bourbon Street. However, in the typical “can do” and forward-looking spirit of New Orleans, Mardi Gras would still be celebrated, and the colorful revelry would simply move to a different forum. One of the most novel concepts was to replace Mardi Gras Floats with Houses decorated to resemble the colorful, whimsical artistic mobile structures – e.g., “Yardi” Gras. This concept turned out to be so popular, (over 3000 houses in New Orleans registered to an indexed map), that the idea and celebration has moved across the country – and even the world – and is highly likely to be an annual event with growing recognition and awards. In fact, it was already apparent in New Orleans this year that paid tours of “Yardi” Gras homes for in-town tourists were already underway. This also had a great knock-on impact on the float-building and decoration Industry, as MG artists and companies were now being employed to design and decorate houses rather that floats.
Since Mardi Gras Day 2021 in New Orleans fell on a day of record low temperatures, (26 degrees F), and dangerous conditions, we ventured out on the milder Sunday before Lundi Gras to capture some of the locally decorated houses and were not disappointed. Enjoy the small subset of the ~70 houses that we observed pictured here!