Mardi Gras Beads (Paperback)

Mardi Gras Beads By Doug Maccash Cover Image
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Beads are one of the great New Orleans symbols, as much a signifier of the city as a pot of scarlet crawfish or a jazzman's trumpet. They are Louisiana's version of the Hawaiian lei, strung around tourists' and conventioneers' necks to demonstrate enthusiasm for the city. The first in a new LSU Press series exploring facets of Louisiana's iconic culture, Mardi Gras Beads 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.

Beads are a big business based on valuelessness. Approximately 130 shipping containers, each filled with 40,000 pounds of Chinese-made beads and other baubles, arrive at New Orleans's biggest Mardi Gras throw importer each Carnival season. Beads are an unnatural part of the natural landscape, persistently dangling from the trees along parade routes like Spanish moss. They clutter the doorknobs of the city, sway behind its rearview mirrors, test the load-bearing strength of its attic rafters, and clog its all-important rainwater removal system.

Mardi Gras Beads traces the history of these parade trinkets from their origins before World War One through their ascent to the premier parade catchable by the Depression era. Veteran Mardi Gras reporter 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.

About the Author

Doug MacCash covers New Orleans art and culture for The Times- Picayune The New Orleans Advocate.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780807177099
ISBN-10: 0807177091
Publisher: LSU Press
Publication Date: February 9th, 2022
Pages: 156
Language: English


Situated on the main street of the historic Delaware Riverfront town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, Farley’s Bookshop and its knowledgeable, experienced staff have endeavored to satisfy the literary tastes of the area inhabitants for over fifty years. Whether you are Bucks County born-and-bred or just stopping by to enjoy the crisp river air and delightful scenery, you will be pleasantly surprised to find the largest and most diverse collection of books-in-print in Bucks County. Farley’s may have competition, but it has few peers. We encourage you to browse our website, but please remember that getting acquainted with our online persona is no substitute for exploring the narrow passageways and teeming shelves of our storefront and discovering that perfect book nestled amongst so many others.

New Hope for American Art

                                               New Hope for American Art is the most comprehensive book ever published on artists from, and surrounding, the New Hope Art Colony (also known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists). This book, with its 612 pages and over 1,000 color plates of artwork include biographies of 165 individual Pennsylvania Impressionists and New Hope Modernists as well as artists from the Philadelphia Ten, a pioneering group of women all educated at Philadelphia art schools. 

In this book, you'll find biographies and artwork from such artists as:

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