The first in a new LSU Press series exploring facets of Louisiana’s iconic culture, Mardi Gras Beads (2022) delves into the history of this celebrated New Orleans artifact, explaining how Mardi Gras beads came to be in the first place and how they grew to have such an outsize presence in New Orleans celebrations. It explores their origins before World War One through their ascent to the premier parade catchable by the Depression era. Doug MacCash explores the manufacture of Mardi Gras beads in places as far-flung as the Sudetenland, India, and Japan, and traces the shift away from glass beads to the modern, disposable plastic versions. Mardi Gras Beads concludes in the era of coronavirus, when parades (and therefore bead throwing) were temporarily suspended because of health concerns, and considers the future of biodegradable Mardi Gras beads in a city ever more threatened by the specter of climate change.
Doug MacCash covers New Orleans art and culture for NOLA.com, The Times- Picayune, and The New Orleans Advocate.
Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) holds a PhD in Musicology from Florida State University. Her current research focuses on parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival celebrations.
Check out some of MacCash's other pertinent writings from NOLA.com here:
Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Florida State University. Her current research is about parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival.