If you’re a mom who’s missing Mardi Gras parades this year (as we all are), there’s still a safe and easy way to celebrate and have fun with the kids: make Shoebox Floats!
My name is Karen Konnerth, artistic director of Calliope Puppets. I’ve made shoebox floats with my children, my grandchildren, and my students, and there is nothing like it for celebrating culture and community, and for letting kids showcase their own passions. Parades of handmade, lavishly decorated, bead, tissue paper, and glitter encrusted shoe boxes – in school hallways, shopping malls, and community centers – are a festive symbol of Mardi Gras in Louisiana, just as much as any parade or krewe ball. From floats with basic purple, green and gold tissue paper and hot glued bead dogs, to family photos, to favorite plastic superheroes and Barbies, there is no end to the possibilities! But the real fun is to see all the ideas everyone else has come up with on their own miniature palette of a basic cardboard shoebox (or, grown-ups, just sayin’- I’ve been eyeing my wine boxes…). My kids and I always loved the huge parade of shoeboxes around the fountain in Oakwood Mall in Gretna!
This year, we cannot assemble the floats to admire in one place, but the magic of Zoom can give us a close-up view of each and every float! So, to keep this creative tradition going for Mardi Gras 2021 AND support nurturing art activities in our community all year, join The Puppets and I at the Whole Village Art Therapy Shoebox Float Parade!
Whole Village Art Therapy and Calliope Puppets are teaming up with a virtual shoebox float parade featuring photos of YOUR OWN FLOATS with special guests and puppets to announce the name of each float builder and title of each float! What do you want to put on a float? A message of love for Valentine’s Day? A message for your community? Something funny? Something beautiful?
All materials will be provided. The virtual parade will roll LIVE, Sunday, February 14th at 11:00am. We will be celebrating the culture of New Orleans, Mardi Gras, art-making for a mentally healthy community, Valentine’s Day, puppets, and FUN!
All tickets benefit Whole Village Art Therapy. Whole Village Art Therapy is a nonprofit organization that provides community based art therapy services to improve access and reduce systemic barriers to mental health services in New Orleans. Their team of art therapists provide fee and sliding scale individual and group art therapy, school-based art therapy services, counseling, community art making, and professional development. Find them on the web HERE or follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more details on their services and free community art making events.
The Puppets from Calliope Puppets will host the event! They also have invited a few special guests to entertain all participants as they announce each float builder’s creation. Calliope Puppets live in Algiers Point but have performed around the world!
Tickets are available through Friday, February 5, 2021, and can be purchased HERE. Krewe Members receive:
- A reserved space in the virtual parade, showcasing your own float! You will be able to submit 3 photos per ticket.
- Your name announced live as the artist as well as the title of your float!
- A free link to watch the parade
- A fabulous packet of materials, including the shoebox, beads, markers, decorative papers, and sparkly surprises. These materials will be available be picked-up at various locations around New Orleans on Saturday, February 6th from 10:00am-1:00pm
- An easy instruction sheet with fun and creative ideas
- Access to a video showing lots of ideas for float construction and decoration
- A krewe medallion for you to decorate and wear or hang proudly on your front door for all your neighbors to see!
People who live out of town can still join in the fun by purchasing a ticket and participating virtually, using your own supplies. We aren’t able to ship materials. Several memberships will be donated to those who aren’t able to purchase a ticket. You can even be part of the Angel Krewe and purchase tickets for other children.
All tickets are non-refundable. Open to all ages!
About the Author
Karen Konnerth is the artistic director of Calliope Puppets.