NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - House Floats are popping up in Louisiana and across the country. House floats can even be found in a handful of other countries across the world.
According to The Krewe of House Floats website, the initiative was “a way for folks to channel their creative energy, make something positive out of a bad situation, and have something to look forward to in 2021. This is really about coming up with creative ways to celebrate carnival that keep everyone safe until we can get through to the other side of this pandemic.”
And it has really taken off.
“This feels like I can have a little foot in the door now, across the ocean, big footstep!” said Kathy Seligman, who decorated her home in London, England. Seligman said she is originally from New Orleans but has lived in London for the last 34 years. This year, she wanted to feel connected to New Orleans and the culture she loves by participating in the house float trend.
“It just feels really good,” she said. “I think it’s what we’re all missing. You know, mine is little. It’s really little, but I just want to see it get bigger.”
Seligman said in London, most homes are connected in rows, and yard space is limited. But with some festive banners and a shiny wreath, carnival time is alive on her block.
“I was putting everything up at night and the guards kept driving by looking like ‘what are you doing you crazy person?’, but I just kept going because like they say in New Orleans, we parade crazy!” she said.
About three hours north of London in York, a Mardi Gras house float is bringing joy to one family.
“My mental health at the moment was kind of having a rough moment because of what’s going on with my mother and everything,” said Joy Nix.
Nix said she is temporarily living in York caring for her mother who has terminal brain cancer. The house float trend has been a good distraction through it all.
“It’s really nice to feel connected because I am super isolated because I don’t really know anyone else in York other than family members,” she said, decorating her mother’s home with what little she could find online and making her own Mardi Gras throws to hand out in the community.
“All the nurses that have come to help my mother, I give them all one and then I give them the description of it and they’re loving it!” said Nix.
Nix is sharing her love for Mardi Gras with others, much like Molly Brown in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
“I decided to do, like, a camel desert oasis thing. Like a Mardi Gras oasis,” said Brown.
Brown and her husband are both teachers. They took teaching jobs in Abu Dhabi in 2020, moving the entire family abroad. Now, she is sharing her love of New Orleans culture with others.
“It’s been really fun to tell people about it. In our apartment, we have a family from India that live across, and they saw me putting up the decorations and she was like, ‘What is this?” said Brown.
She said this simple way of celebrating carnival is exciting other New Orleans ex-pats.
“A woman in Egypt contacted me saying, ‘I’m from New Orleans! I didn’t know this was a thing!” said Brown. “It’s a really diverse city. Like, people are from all over the world. All religions, all cultures. So it’s not like people see it and they’re like, ‘What is that?’, they’re just like, ‘Oh, this must be a celebration we don’t know about.’”
A new normal they hope to continue each year.
“This is what makes New Orleans special, and once it becomes part of you, it never leaves,” said Brown.
For Seligman, it was a way to feel connected to her city and home. “I really felt that, you know, I had to be in that number,” she said.
And for Nix-- nothing is going to stop her from celebrating carnival, even if she is celebrating in a different country.
“I’m going to be out there, in the snow, with a grill and some sausages, and listening to WWOZ, and I’m going to be drunk as hell, and my neighbors are not going to know what’s happening!” laughed Nix, proving that everywhere else-- it’s just a Tuesday.
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