Quantifying Loot

People are often surprised when we send bags of Mardi Gras loot — how much do you get from a parade? — is a common question. This photograph, taken hastily, is an attempt to answer that question.

This represents part of the Saturday night Uptown parades… floats 16-18 of Sparta and the entire Pegasus parade. We went as is… just walked up, no step-stools or ladders. Will sat on Paul’s shoulders and I held Kate. We were out for maybe 90 minutes; including a 25 minute stall towards the end of Sparta when a float somewhere up the line had a technical malfunction. The parades include horses, live bands (including our neighbor, Mitch –no, not that one–, with Michael Hurtt and the Haunted Hearts), drum lines, high school bands, and a ton more.

Favorite throws of the night featured in the pile below included a purse with a big butterfly on it (Kate has been carrying it around non-stop all day); a huge spear (we hid it almost immediately); a pirate set complete with treasure chest, coins, earring, and dagger; huge stuffed dolphin; Sparta Trojan horses; Pegasus horses (with red manes and blue sashes); a huge snake; four footballs; and a soft plush beanie “gato.” Granted, this is a pretty decent haul for essentially one parade… but it isn’t uncommon by any means.
What do we do with all this stuff??? Well, we will divide them this week. Broken strands, stuff we don’t want, and excess pieces get donated to local charities who re-string them or use them in project-based fundraisers. A huge portion of the stuffed toys and footballs will be thrown in the Abeona parade (it’s tough for the kids to throw beads, since they tangle, so they mostly throw cups and stuffed toys). The collectables and favorites get added to their current toys — most of the them go with the puppet show animals that they play with. Other favorite throws are packed and sent to friends all over the world. We keep beads and other shiny traditional throws on hand year-round for care packages.

Still more get packed away in “rainy day” boxes. These come out on icky days for imagination play, the whole costume box (many of which I wore in junior high and high school, ranging from my Alice in Wonderland dress made by Grandma Betty to the purple dress my Mom wore in her high school portrait to a skunk costume to a Betty-Boop mask) plus the Mardi Gras masks, hats, beads, and accessories. Who doesn’t love dress up? I feel certain that every household in NOLA shares the common bond of having these boxes of fun tucked away in the backs of their closets.