Mardi Paws Tries a New Trick – Virtual Events, Doghouse Floats & More

Canine Krewe Promotes Dog House Float Contest in Lieu of Usual Carnival Traditions

photo credit @by.drake

From Mardi Paws: In a year when the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to take a bite out of all the usual fun of Mardi Gras, the Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws, a beloved dog parade that has been taking place in St. Tammany Parish for 27 years, refuses to take the news of parade cancellations lying down. In response to those who are begging for a safe way to celebrate this unusual Carnival season, Mardi Paws is hosting its first-ever Dog House Float contest.

Inspired by the pup-ularity of the “House Floats” that are all the rage in neighboring New Orleans and beyond, where businesses and homeowners have hired professional float decorators to transform buildings into Mardi Gras masterpieces, Mardi Paws is encouraging pooches and their people to unleash their creativity and transform dog houses into works of art. Modern-day revelers can then drive around – or go for a walk — to see this new breed of “float” in safe and socially distant ways.

The goal of “Dog House Floats” is to spread good cheer while drawing attention to the plight of the homeless pups at the St. Tammany Parish Department of Animal Services in Lacombe, the only open-admission animal shelter in the parish.

photo credit @by.drake

Businesses and residents are encouraged to decorate a Mardi Gras-themed dog house display on their property. Those who truly want to explore all the paws-ibilities can instead decorate their residence, office building or business as a giant dog house. And those dog families already signed up for a “House Float” krewe in New Orleans or elsewhere become eligible for the Dog House Float contest by simply adding a dog house to their existing display.

To ensure that nobody feels like an underdog, the rules are very flexible. Decorate an existing dog house, build a new one, add a dog theme to a house float display, or even make a dog house-shaped mailbox. There’s no cost to enter, and top contenders can fetch prizes in either the “residential” or “business” category.

Displays should be ready as early as January 23 and must remain in place until Sunday, February 21, which is when the traditional Mardi Paws parade would have ordinarily occurred. (Mardi Paws always happens at the tail end of Carnival season, on the Sunday after Fat Tuesday.)

Participants can register at www.doghousefloats.com. As they complete their entries, contestants should let Mardi Paws know if they’d like their display listed on the official website – so celebrants can include it on their drive-by tours of floats — or if they prefer to remain unpublicized. Either way, contestants must email a photo of their display by 4 p.m. Central time on Saturday, February 20.

When it comes to free and socially distanced fun for the canine Carnival season, Mardi Paws leads the pack. The organization is also hosting this litter of virtual events:

Enter into a Poop Bedazzling Contest!
  • Costume Contest: Dogs should be dressed in a Louisiana-themed costume – honoring the Saints, a favorite college team, alligators or anything else everyone loves about the state – and hound their person to share a photo with Mardi Paws.
  • Selfie Contest, Quarantine Edition: Dogs can pose for a picture showing how they’re celebrating Carnival season in this most unusual of years.
  • Poop Throw Decorating Contest: One of the most fun parts of the actual Mardi Paws parade is the tossing of bedazzled “poops.” Now anyone can decorate the poop-shaped foam throws.
  • Flagship Float: Mardi Paws will have a special float on display at Baldwin Subaru, a local car dealer that’s committed to bettering the lives of all pets. (As a corporation, Subaru has long supported animal-related causes.) Visitors can easily view the float from their cars or jump out to get photos of this one-of-a-kind, a-dog-able float.
  • Social Media Contests and Giveaways: Everyone should keep an eye on Mardi Paws’ social media pages to participate in a variety of games and contests that offer incredible prizes (like lots of dog toys!).

For more information about all aspects of this year’s Mutty Gras season and all the virtual fun that’s planned, please visit www.DogHouseFloats.com.

Though 2021 will surely go down in history as a ruff year for those who look forward to the usual Mardi Gras traditions, Mardi Paws has decided to focus on what really mutt-ers as it doggedly pursues programs that will allow people and pets to have some fun in a safe and socially distanced way. (And remember, six feet translates to “about three Labrador Retrievers apart.”)

About the Krewe of Mardi Paws

The “Super Krewe for K9s” benefits Scott’s Wish, which has been helping people and pets since 2008, and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which was established by actor and hometown hero Ian Somerhalder to support animals, youth and the community at large. www.MardiPaws.com

photo credit @by.drake