Tag Archives: philanthropy

The Arc of Greater New Orleans

Throw us somethin’ back, Bead bin location

Give back to the community this year with Mardi Gras World and The Arc of Greater New Orleans.

Mardi Gras World is a bead drop-off location for The Arc of Greater New Orleans’ bead drop off program.

“We collect close to 150,000 pounds of donated beads through schools, libraries and partnerships with businesses,” said Director of Arc Enterprises Nicole Blair.

The Arc of New Orleans owns and operates several small businesses to support people with intellectual disabilities.

“We collect all of the beads. Then we have the employees with intellectual disabilities come in and sort beads with people from the community and out of town to promote an integrated environment,” said Blair.

The Arc collects all types of beads and even sorts specialty beads, trinkets, and stuffed animals.

Along with the Mardi Gras World drop-off, located at 1380 Port of New Orleans Place, donators can also drop-off beads at the Rouses on Airline, Whole Foods on Magazine and Veterans, Clearview Mall and other local locations.

Visit The Arc of New Orleans website for more information.


Working together

The Sirens

Mardi Gras Class with Sass: Female Dance Troupes

Mardi Gras does not discriminate when it comes to showing everyone a good time, but that doesn’t stop the sassy women of New Orleans and the surrounding areas from creating “women-only” dance troupes and marching krewes.

We got the inside scoop on some of the hottest troupes in town, and from parading the streets to helping their communities, these women do it all…carnival style.

The Bearded Oysters, also known as “The most shuckingly fabulous menagerie of slick chick tricks ever disorganized,” have been around for ten years.

The Mother Shucker, Katrina Brees, said she founded the troupe because “there weren’t really places for women between the ages of 18 and 30 to parade in Mardi Gras” back then.

““I created it as a place for women of all ages to come together and to develop sisterhood,” Brees said.

Brees said her inspiration for the troupe came from being a bearded lady at MOMs Ball the previous Mardi Gras when she “was inspired to share the joy of bearding with the women of the world”.

The Bearded Oysters are still inviting women to march with them for the 2014 Carnival Season, but don’t plan to march unless you’re prepared to pass out a “shuck-ton” of oysters to parade go-ers.

That’s right, their signature throws are hand painted oysters, and the troupe makes 5,500 to pass out during their parade.
While signature throws are a staple in Mardi Gras krewes, so is the theme of philanthropy.

Kit Nelson, chair of The Sirens of New Orleans Dance Troupe, said the women in her troupe spend almost 50 % of their time doing philanthropy work with “Girls First”, a mentor program for young girls, and “Eden House”, a program for women who have been trafficked.

Community work isn’t the only thing these ladies focus on.

“We attend each other’s events, we’re pretty involved in supporting each other,” Nelson said.

The Sirens, like The Bearded Oysters have their own unique throw, and you won’t have to look in the ocean to find it.

A “message in a bottle”, with each bottle hand painted and filled with a personalized letter from The Sirens, the women stick to the Mardi Gras tradition of keeping signature throws exclusive to each individual krewe that produces them.

A thoughtful throw for a thoughtful krewe, The Sirens, started four years ago, as a group of women who wanted to build a krewe that supported the New Orleans community through philanthropy, while also participating pageantry of Mardi Gras.

Whether it’s parading in beaded and nearly-there costumes or saving the city through helping others, the female krewes prove that passion for the community is a large part of Mardi Gras here in New Orleans.


You can visit the krewe’s websites for more  information by clicking the highlighted links above.