The definitive ranking of Mardi Gras throws, from worst to first...
They may be the backbone of Mardi Gras, but, until we come up with a more environmentally-friendly version, they’re also helping to drown New Orleans (just look at how many came out of the catch basins in the past couple months). And, let’s face it, there’s only so much DIY-ing you can do after Mardi Gras to actually make beads useful for anything.
I’ve never understood the fascination with doubloons. They’re hard to actually catch, have no inherent value and generally end up getting scratched on the asphalt. On the up side, they’re small and easy to pocket away.
Dinah Rogers Photo
“SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEEEEEAR!”
9. Stuffed anything
Bears, voodoo dolls, dogs, shoes, crowns, the “Boeuf Gras” — take your pick. Stuffed throws of any kind are fun, but they definitely take up some space in a bag of throws. Still, they at least have uses that extend past Mardi Gras, especially if you have a dog who likes to chew.
8. Glass beads
The one concession I’ll make to my dislike of beads is for those that are glass and properly strung. They’re pretty, they’ve generally got a nice weight to them, and you can actually wear them at other times of the year.
7. Potato chips
Snacks! Who doesn’t love snacks? Especially when you’re on the parade route and lines for food trucks or nearby restaurants can stretch long. The only downside is that chips easily get smushed, and that’s a bummer when you’re looking for a nice, salty crunch to go with your route beverage of choice.
6. Signature throws
Think toilet paper from Tucks, makeup bags or fuzzy socks from Muses, or anything from Endymion or Bacchus that lights up. These usually bear the name of the krewe, and depending on the item, can also be super useful. You'll be reminded of your Mardi Gras madness all year long.
Photo by Lisa Brewster via Flickr
5. Moon Pies
Moon Pies are delicious, and not catching one at Mardi Gras is kind of like forgetting the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. That the Moon Pie company has a hilarious Twitter account did not factor into my rankings.
Float broke down? Got to the route too early? Waiting on Endmyion to start? No problem, if you caught a football (or a frisbee, for that matter). What parade route would be complete without having to dodge a solid game of toss in the middle of the street?
Photos by Tana R.H. Stevenson
They may or may not be purposeful throws, per se, because they typically get unceremoniously tossed over the edge of a float, but I’ve seen hands grab for Carnival bags as though they’re the hottest item on the route. They’re helpful for carrying all your loot — and for grocery shopping all year long.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Thomas
2. Anything handmade
Whether it’s a Muses shoe, a shrimp boot from the Krewe of Carrollton or a handmade knicknack from Krewe Delusion, anything that’s made with Mardi Gras TLC is a winner.
If there’s one thing South Louisisana is known for, it’s go-cups. OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but let’s be honest: Mardi Gras cups are more than just a bit of molded plastic. They symbolize a special local freedom, and no Louisiana kitchen is complete without a stack of multi-colored, faded-from-washing stack of go-cups.