NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Elizabeth McKeon is focused."I'm separating long beads, collecting and looking for other stuff," the St. Michael Special School student says.
She sifts through bundles of beads, looking for ones that match in length. When McKeon finds 12 similar strands, they get stapled, stacked and bagged.
She filled a lot of bags before Mardi Gras.
"We sold out early this year," she says. "People called and we were sold out completely."
The end of Carnival season only means more work for adult students at St. Michael Special School.
They spend hours in the Joy Center every day going through bag after bag of beads donated by parade goers. The school sells the throws back to riders, recycling them for another round of fun.
"What this does for the joy center is it provides a means of earning funds to keep this program viable and going and to make it an affordable option for parents of adult-age special needs clients," says principal Susan Munster.
The school needs even more beads in the next few weeks. St. Patrick's and St. Joseph's days are coming up soon. There's also a Latin American parade asking for beads in the fall.
"We encourage everyone to clean out their attic, clean out the backs of their cars and instead of just throwing those beads into the trash can, come bring them to St. Michael," says Munster. "Give our clients the opportunity to re-purpose those beads and to do the wonderful productive work that we do here."
You can donate beads Monday through Friday at the school. It's located 1522 Chippewa Street in New Orleans.
For a list of other places collecting beads for St. Michael, go to their Facebook page.