Beads on a fence.
Beads on a fence.


They are everywhere. This time of year. And, most times of the year. These are fresh. Bright. Shiny. New. As the year rolls on they will begin to fade. If they manage to hang around for a couple of years they will show their true colors. Black. Gray. White.

For now, they sparkle in the sunlight. Gleam at dusk. Reflect light in the dark.

They are ubiquitous. Parade goers fight for them. In the Quarter some people — tourists — display body parts. Some people — locals — hoard them from year to year. It’s amazing what some people will do for a string of beads that costs about 8 cents to produce and that can be bought at any shop that sells Mardi Gras stuff for about $3.00 a dozen. After, retail pricing and seasonal markups.

These pictures. As I do often, I made them on the way to some place else. One the way to the parades, to be specific. In low afternoon light. The beads hanging from the tree branches are on their way to becoming part of another unique New Orleans thing, a bead tree. A few years back, there was one or two of them located along St. Charles Avenue. As usual, that number grew and grew and grew. I suppose that’s a fun thing. But, we seem to be a city of copycats. Just ask people who make their livings in the restaurant industry. Sheesh.

Starting a bead tree.
Starting a bead tree.

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