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Arts & Culture

All Dolled Up in Purple, Green and Gold: Mardi Gras Decor in New Orleans

As the city of New Orleans prepares for Mardi Gras, homes and businesses decorate with purple, green and gold, making the city beautifully glamorous.

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Mardi Gras colors are on view year-round at this Bywater home (Photo: Paul Broussard)

In New Orleans, the old adage “All that glitters is not gold” certainly holds true. All that glitters in the Big Easy is purple, green and gold. Our beloved Mardi Gras season is here and many residents and businesses have already hung bright wreaths, bunting, masks and garlands with the same passion and creativity that other cities usually reserve for Christmas decorations. On a recent morning, I set out to snap some photos to show off what the quintessential New Orleans home looks like at this time of year. Joy is in the air and ribbons, glitter and beads abound.

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Bright and shining double wreath decorations for Mardi Gras

The three Mardi Gras colors are so often associated with New Orleans, even after Carnival season, and visitors often wonder if the celebration’s trio of colors are symbolic. Indeed they are. Traditionally, the color purple represents justice, green represents faith (remember, Mardi Gras is based on the Catholic calendar) and gold is symbolic of power. The three hues have been Carnival’s official colors since selected in 1892 by the King of Carnival, Rex.

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Decorated shotgun cottages along Royal Street in the French Quarter

Some of the best decorating efforts can be seen along Royal Street in the French Quarter where the decorations intertwine with classic elements of the city’s iconic architecture, such as shutters, columns and wrought iron, and where the swag can reach several stories tall.

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A giant mask and garlands adorn the front of a house along Saint Peter Street in the French Quarter

Just as there is a special magic in the air during the holiday months of November and December, Mardi Gras brings with it its own special feeling that permeates throughout the city. Purple, green and gold Mardi Gras decorations are only the beginning. As we carefully adorn our city with glittering cheer, we prepare for some of the most jubilant and unanimous celebrating all year. Take a stroll in any neighborhood and you will not only see it, but you will feel it, too. Happy Mardi Gras!

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A glittery Mardi Gras wreath

All photos by Allison Alsup

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