How to Catch a Muses Shoe (And Other Elusive Carnival Throws)

If you have recently moved to New Orleans, Mardi Gras with kids can be extremely overwhelming at first. But trust us – you want a Muses shoe, a Cleo cup, a Zulu coconut and all the beads you can catch! If you are looking for tips on how to enjoy Mardi Gras with kids, you have come to the right place. A full list of Mardi Gras events, parades and camps can be found here, and we also have tips for the things every mom needs in her trunk at Mardi Gras, as well as a list of unique king cakes that every New Orleanian should try once.

How to Catch a Muses Shoe (And Other Elusive Carnival Throws)

how to catch a muses shoe“A shoe, a shoe, please lady a shoe!!” As a Muses rider, this is the anthem we hear for almost six miles. It’s the sing songy backdrop to our parade from the heart of Uptown to the depths of the Warehouse District. As I enter my tenth year of riding, I still find the enormity and intensity of the crowds a little overwhelming. When you look out into the sea of revelers, there will inevitably be those who stand out. After seeking counsel from my fellow contributors, and members of the other amazing ladies’ Krewes of Cleopatra and Iris, I’ve pulled together our best tips on how to catch a Muses shoe (and other elusive Carnival throws).

Make Eye Contact

Every once in a while, someone will point at me and make direct eye contact, and I will spend the next block trying to send throws their way. It’s amazing how a simple point of their finger and connection with their eyes will turn them from a face in the crowd to next recipient of something special. If they are in close proximity to the float, I will ask them to come closer so I can hand down one of the thirty custom glittered shoes I have among my throws. This is hands down one of the easiest “how to catch a Muses shoe” (or Cleo cup) tips I have. Just look at us!

Dancing In The Streets

I love to see the joy of Mardi Gras spread through the crowd. When the parade comes to a stop, and we have the chance to interact with everyone, my favorite thing to see is people dancing along with the music from our marching bands. I might even encourage a dance off where the crowd can choose the winner and recipient of the shoe. The basic rule is that the more you are enjoying yourself, the higher the likelihood that a rider will connect with you. So eat, drink, and be merry, my friends!!

Wigs, and Costumes, and Tutus, Oh My!

I am a sucker for anyone who goes all out in the name of Muses. When I spot someone in a fabulous wig with matching makeup and some funky fashions, I really appreciate that they’d join in the celebration the way that they can. So go for it. Try your best Bowie impression or seek out your inner Beyonce, and I can guarantee you’ll catch our attention.

Bring a Sign

shoeThere is nothing as eye catching as a sign. But even better than a sign, is a really, REALLY funny sign. There are two that I will never forget.  The first was held up by a nice gentleman in his mid-forties and it read, “I do the dishes and give foot massages.” The second was held by an older gentleman in a terry cloth robe and said “I cuddle after…” Hysterical! A shoe is the best reward for a humorous sign!

A Cute Kid and a Tired Mom

When I see a mom huddled behind her tribe, it strikes a chord in me. I know her. She has endured several days in a row without naps and dinners composed solely of things caught off of a float. She has spent the last several hours listening to her children throw snap pops into the street and then fight about who go to throw more of them. She is tired but will keep going because the smile on her children’s faces when they catch a stuffed animal or a light up ring bring her more joy than getting sleep would. She deserves something special from one tired mom to another. Because let’s be honest, with all of the running around she does, Momma needs a new pair of Muses shoes.

Have you caught one of Carnival’s great treasures? How’d you do it?


  1. I got a Zulu Coconut in the pouring rain in 2014. I’d say that wasn’t so bad for a MG first timer!
    Wish we were going to be there to dance for you this year Jennifer Have so much fun!! Can’t wait to see pictures! xo

  2. One year, my sister who had a heart condition, and easily tired, finally decided to let me push her in a wheel chair from the car to the parade. She could walk but would get worn out easily. Her gorgeous red hair, combined with her beautiful smile and a Harley Davidson t-shirt must have been a sight! Dozens of stuffed animals, bouquets of plastic roses, long beads, and bags of trinkets and beads were all thrown her way. She let her pride go out the window and took that wheelchair the rest of the season. Little did we know it would be her last Mardi Gras. Her weak heart finally gave out that Christmas. But remembering her last Mardi Gras and watching her, like a little girl , amazed by all the trinkets, is a sweet memory I cherish.

  3. I was blessed with a beautiful, glittery shoe by making a shoe hat. I’ve got one ready this year too. I love the shoes!!

  4. As a long time lover of Muses (and occasional shoe recipient) here’s my take: Many of the women who ride are not particularly friendly towards middle aged women. A group of us wear wigs, carry humorous signs, even dress up. As seasoned MG celebrators, we know to make eye contact. We have tried everything. What we see is women showing disdain for older women, and throwing their best stuff to men and young girls. Not to say every Muses rider is this way, but enough so it should be pointed out to Muses sisters: – if you’re lucky you too will be an older woman. And you will know how it feels to be invisible.

    • I agree with Stella. I tried for 6 years to get a shoe. Nothing. Tried ALL of your suggestions and more. Best way- befriend a Muses rider who will give you one. That’s almost the only way to get one, which truly defeats the purpose of the spirit of MG to me.

  5. Although I have gotten a shoe (by wearing a fancy pink wig and matching outfit) I must agree that the vast majority of the shoes go to men who put in little effort, which is sad.

  6. One year we had a team of 3 working to get shoes. One held our funny sign, one ran after floats to grab said shoe and the other helped grab riders attention. We got 8 shoes that year!! One of the best Mardi Gras memories.

  7. I’m a 71-year-old female. I’ve mastered all the tricks of getting a shoe – without catching one. ITTA with Stella that the elusive shoe belongs to a young(er) Cinderella or Prince Charming. I’m a golden girl and very proud to be one, so riders, be kind to everyone please. Thank you!


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