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How to Catch a Muses Shoe

3 Muses share 3 tips on how to catch a coveted, glitter-covered shoe.

Hand-decorated Muses shoes are a coveted Mardi Gras throw. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

“Most people wait for the muse to turn up. That’s terribly unreliable. I have to pursue the muse…” — Nick Cave

OK, so Nick Cave wasn’t talking about the Krewe of Muses parade, but his words certainly ring true, especially when it comes to Muses’ shoes. The Muses turn up on the parade route each year on the Thursday before Mardi Gras Day, but whether or not a shoe turns up in your hands is largely based on your own efforts.

Some Muses will look to those who are not expecting anything to brighten their night. Maybe it’s a tired mom who has carted the kids to every Carnival parade of the season and could use a little pick-me-up. Perhaps it’s the lonely guy standing on the outskirts of the crowd. 

Until you have covered yourself in glue and glitter, you truly cannot appreciate the time, effort, and resources that go into making a Muses shoe.

Personally, I’ve been warned about the disgruntled-looking folks perched in front of the crowds in fold-out chairs that appear to have no throws. Apparently, you hand them a shoe seeking to spark a smile, only to have it snatched and stuffed into an overflowing bag under their seat. 

Until you have covered yourself in glue and glitter, you truly cannot appreciate the time, effort, and resources that go into making a Muses shoe. Many Muses go above and beyond the call of a few sparkles, creating true masterpieces with special meanings. Because of these efforts, Muses often want to know that the people to whom they gift these artworks will appreciate what they are getting. 

The Krewe of Muses (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Top 3 Tips for How to Catch a Muses Shoe

1. Sign, Sealed, Delivered

“I’ve fallen for everything — bribes, stories, and pleas,” says Susan Whelan, a member of the Krewe of Muses since 2008. “When it comes to specialty items like shoe bracelets or light-up beads, I look for the guy who wants to catch stuff, but also [wants to] hang in the back with his friends,” she says. But the shoes? “Shoes are more special.”

The most popular and effective way to catch the eye of a Muse is with a beautiful sign. One of Whelan’s favorite stated, “Shoe Love is True Love.” 

Parade-goers have made beautiful beacons for Muses since its first parade in 2001, and each year those signs get more and more elaborate. Join the sisterhood, and get your glitter and glue out. Think about the anniversary of the parade (Sweet 16!) and make your sign themed. Remember, it’s dark on most of the parade route, so find a way to light up your life-sized love note. 

2. Net Gains

You might opt for a net along the parade route (all the better to reach those Muses on the top tiers of the floats). But again, get inspired — it helps to have a sweet sign affixed to your shoe-snagger. Why not wire a few butterflies to your net? Glitter the handle? The more clever you are the more hearts (and shoes!) you’ll capture. 

The most popular and effective way to catch the eye of a Muse is with a beautiful sign. One favorite stated, ‘Shoe Love is True Love.’

3. Don’t Beg, Barter

They say “cash is king,” but on the parade route, bartering may the ticket to get a shoe from a queen. Muses have been offered beers, mini-champagne bottles, and beyond. One Muse, Terry Keister, received a treasure that she pulls out every year for Mardi Gras decorations. 

“We were slowly rolling by, and someone offered up this beautifully decorated bottle of white wine and asks, ‘Will you trade this for a shoe?’,” says Keister, a Muse since 2003. “I said, ‘Heck yeah!'” she recalls. “I appreciated that someone went to the trouble to decorate the bottle and was so creative.” 

If you do get a chance to get up close and personal with a Muse on a float, remember you catch more shoes with honey. If you haven’t caught a shoe yet and it’s nearing the end of the parade, stay positive, and don’t give up hope. 

“I love to see my shoes to go someone who seems really nice,” says Shane Levy, who often substitutes in Muses. “I look for the people who haven’t gotten one shoe that night, or maybe ever.” 

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