Destination Louisiane: Capital City neighborhood adapts to a pandemic Mardi Gras

Destination Louisiane

A business in Mid City decorates for Mardi Gras as part of the reverse parade taking place on Sunday, Feb. 7.

BATON ROUGE, La. (BR Proud) — Mardi Gras parades were cancelled to limit the spread of Covid-19, so the Krewe of Mid City Gras decided on an alternative way to safely celebrate Carnival season.

“As small as it may be this year, we decided to do the reverse parade idea,” said committee chair Corey Schircliff.

Mid City Gras is a relatively new krewe and 2021 would have marked their fourth consecutive parade. Instead, organizers are encouraging people to stay socially-distanced and decorate their homes this year.

Mid City Gras always rolls the Sunday before the Sunday before Mardi Gras on North Blvd., a road connecting north and south Baton Rouge. The reverse parade will somewhat keep with tradition and take place on Feb. 7.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., people are invited to download a map of participating homes and drive through Mid City to look at the decorations.

During that time, judges will also evaluate the best decorations and prizes will be awarded to the winners, like gift cards to Mid City restaurants. Winners will also receive a hand-crafted trophy.

“We’ll also have some different types of krewes that are focused more on dance and entertainment and as long as they are still social-distanced, they’ll still qualify for the prizes,” said Schircliff.

One member of the judging group is 2021 Grand Marshal, Terri Singleton. Singleton was a founding member of Mid City Gras and one of the first to decorate her property this year, which she jokingly refers to as her pandemic bubble. “I miss costuming, I miss being with people and this is just a wonderful way to spread the Mardi Gras spirit without spreading the virus,” said Singleton.

Singleton’s yard is also where one will find squirrel boy, a child size scarecrow-like stuffing with a rubber squirrel head. He sits atop her grand-daughter’s John Deere tractor where a machine blows bubbles from the rear. “When Mid City Gras started, we picked the squirrel as our mascot and so, squirrel boy with the bubbles has been in every parade,” said Singleton.

When Mid City Gras was first founded, organizers decided their neighborhood was overrun with squirrels and hence, the often seen creature affectionately became their mascot. Today, the Krewe rounds up acorns year-round to toss along the parade route. Singleton said she hopes to keep that tradition alive during the reverse parade. “There may be some nutty treats coming out from the house here.”

A sampling of some of the throws one may catch along the reverse parade route for Mid City Gras.

Schircliff said she hopes the event helps to lift spirits during what is typically one of the most joyous times in south Louisiana. “I think of it as driving around to look at the Christmas lights and it always gets you in the spirit of the holiday,” said Schircliff. “I’m hoping that folks can drive around and see all the takes on Mardi Gras this year – such a bizarre year – and get in the spirit of Mardi Gras.”

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