It was like crocuses emerging after a frost. The Mardi Gras marching group Krewe des Fleurs was scheduled to debut their new iris-inspired costumes on Jan. 6, the first day of the 2017 Mardi Gras season. But the chilly showers that blew across the city that evening kept the Fleurs and their electrified costumes under wraps.
On the balmy weekend of Jan. 14, however, the botanical krewe popped up in the French Quarter at dusk, sashaying through the Creole architecture, petals flapping.
On Bourbon Street, near the Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar, the 16-member group bobbed and swayed to Silento's "Watch Me," as Hand Grenade cocktail-toting tourists joined in. When the glittering bunch later spilled onto Royal Street, they came upon an ensemble of bluegrass buskers who serenaded them with a countrified rendition of "Go to the Mardi Gras." As darkness fell, the Fleurs arranged themselves in the front yard of the Cornstalk Hotel in order to sip Champagne from plastic cups and glow.
"Krewe des Fleurs is a costuming and performance collaborative," explained founder Laura Dean-Shapiro, as she shimmied beneath her white wig and purple cardboard and canvas blossom.
"We just get together and are inspired by nature and try to design things that look a lot like the Louisiana landscape, and bring them to life," she said. "With a little bit of that Mardi Gras exuberance mixed in.
"We're just out in the French Quarter trying to have a good time, trying to bring our costumes out into the daylight, trying to welcome the Mardi Gras season."
Look for the Krewe des Fleurs in the Cleopatra parade on the Uptown route at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 17; the Iris parade on the Uptown route at 11 a.m. on Feb. 25; and possibly other parades.
Do-it-yourself costumed marching troupes have been a part of Mardi Gras since Mardi Gras began. But in the past decade, groups like the Krewe des Fleurs seem to have proliferated. We, at NOLA.com, would like to make a list of them all, including the founding dates and the parades where they can be seen. Help us out. If you are a DIY marching group leader, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Sarah Post, one of the Fleurs, who provided the names of the members who made it to the Jan. 14 stroll: Marica Mackenroth Brewster, Heather Brutz, Lindsay Caton, Alexandra Fitch, Dori Hernandez, Christina High, Suzanne Lacey, Aubry Larson, Molly LeBlanc, Betsy Lounsberry, Katie Patterson, Laura Paul, Sarah Post, Laura Dean Shapiro, Susan Thomas, and Luella Williams.
Note: if anyone can provide the name of the bluegrass band, we'll add it to the story.