Crooked Stump

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A New Orleans couple who normally spend this time of year building fantastical floats for the Mardi Gras parade has done something a little different for the pandemic—creating porch floats so people can party safely at home.

The NOLA parade may have been canceled this year, but that hasn’t stopped husband-and-wife team Inez and Rene Pierre from creating, for example, a Dolly Parton-themed float to pay tribute to the country singer’s $1 million donation to coronavirus vaccine research.

Adapting their colorful floats to fit around porches, balconies, and even on front lawns—the pair have been inundated with orders: not just from their home city, but as far afield as Alabama, New York, and North Carolina.

Inez, who with her husband owns the float-building business Crescent City Artists, said:
“I was heartbroken when the mayor canceled Mardi Gras, but I also understand that life is more important.”

The talented couple—who usually construct carnival floats made of steel, wood, and muslin for around $45,000 each—worried that the end to the party meant difficulties for their financial future.

Then Inez heard someone on a news show suggesting porch floats as a way for the city to still celebrate.

The couple put in their first order just before Christmas. From there, the orders never stopped. Their website ended up crashing, they were getting so many hits. Two weeks ago, they even stopped taking orders because they were so overwhelmed.

“We are up to 52 porch floats,” says Inez, “we have maybe 10 more to complete and we have a waiting list for next year.