Beads, New Orleans

9 Reviews

Know about this?

  • A beaded tree on the Tulane University campus
    A beaded tree on the Tulane University...
    by Jefie
  • Beaded windows in the French Quarter
    Beaded windows in the French Quarter
    by Jefie
  • Another beaded tree on St. Charles Avenue
    Another beaded tree on St. Charles...
    by Jefie
  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    Beads, beaded windows, beaded trees!

    by Jefie Written Aug 7, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The tradition of throwing beads during the Mardi Gras parade dates back to the 19th century. At the time, the strings of beads were made of glass and although these weren't very expensive, the arrival of cheap plastic beads on the market helped increase the amount of beads thrown during the parade. You get a pretty good idea of just how many strings are thrown as you walk along St. Charles Avenue, which is on the parade route. Even though we were there in May, there still were plenty of beads hanging from cables and power lines, and some pretty heavily beaded trees as well! Even though the Mardi Gras parade doesn't actually run through the French Quarter, the custom of throwing beads from balconies on Bourbon Street has spread and it has now become a year-round affair. Some of the necklaces that are thrown are quite big or feature some special beads, but I soon got the idea that you had to do something "special" to get them, so I was quite happy just to have the regular ones thrown at me :o)

    A beaded tree on the Tulane University campus Another beaded tree on St. Charles Avenue Beaded windows in the French Quarter
    Related to:
    • Festivals

    Was this review helpful?

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    The more beads you can see,. . . . OOOOOPS! :))))

    by kokoryko Written Jul 22, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The more beads you can see, the more t¡ts you can see ;) ) )

    Well, naughty, but not too much, just jokes (! ? ) The above title is a saying of souvenir sellers or specialised bead sellers, and this refers to the men offering bead laces to ladies, and when they are offered more and more, they have to open their skirts (a bit, a bit more. . . ) in order all laces are well and neatly fitted on their breasts! This is a Mardi Gras custom. . . .
    Well, I’ve seen lots of beads, but not lots of t¡ts, as I looked for them (I mean the beads!!!) on some exotic places.
    They decorate displays at some special restaurants entrances (picture 1), balconies (picture 2), and more strangely hang on trees (picture 3) or electrical wires (picture 4)
    There are lots in some shops (picture 5), not too expensive, but for that price I would prefer to put them around a cute neck rather than throwing them on trees!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Festivals

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bunsch's Profile Photo

    Even the trees have bling!

    by Bunsch Updated Jun 14, 2011

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mardi Gras is bead season in New Orleans -- but if you're in town for a convention, chances are that your organizers will stage a little parade and you'll get your quota of beads that way. If not, avoid all those places which sell you three strands for $5.00 -- all you really have to do is to stroll down one of the streets on which the Krewes parade during the season (try Napoleon Street and St. Charles Avenue, for example), and gather up the swag from the trees.

    Your choice of style and color readily available Decorated trees
    Related to:
    • School Holidays
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • msbrandysue's Profile Photo

    Beads, Beads, Beads

    by msbrandysue Written Jan 2, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beads are like gold here. It's true...Shops line Bourbon St. trying to sell you beads 5x as much as you could pay at home. My them before you come! Even the cheap ones are like pure cash.

    Don't get offended by it. It's not our culture going down the tube. It's fun and it's excitement and it's letting go. Please don't judge anyone who flashes because it's the least likely ones who do it. Something in the air will tell you to do it!

    Now boys...don't think about flashing your below area. Cops are quick to get you and you'll be paying a nice fine for indecent exposure....I haven't quite figured it out yet but ... I probably never will.

    Enjoy the fun...reach your hand up and maybe, just maybe you'll get a few beads to put on your travel wall.

    Look up! Pay attention...those beads can hurt your head!

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo


    by ATXtraveler Written Feb 8, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sometimes you will receive beads as you walk down the street, and sometimes you will throw beads up to the balconies. This sort of give and take is what makes Mardi Gras fun for all. As you can see here, most of my groomsmen were pretty skilled in the art of negotiation, and were able to amass quite a grouping of beads!


    Bachelors with Big Beads

    Was this review helpful?

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo

    Throwing Beads from Balconies

    by ATXtraveler Written Feb 8, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    During Mardi Gras, Beads are the currency used for different purposes. The kings and queens of Mardi Gras are the groups who have their own balcony. From up on the balcony, these folks have the best view of the happenings on the street.

    If you are interested in staying on one of these balconies, you have to book up to one year in advance!

    Enjoy Mardi Gras!

    Mardi Gras Balcony

    Was this review helpful?

  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo

    Mardi Gras Terminology: Beads and Doubloons

    by jadedmuse Updated Aug 8, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is New Orleans-speak for the plastic necklaces traditionally thrown off Mardi Gras floats. The plural is of course, "beads". The nicer the beads, the harder it is to acquire them without compromising your, er, honor.

    The doubloons are also thrown from the parade floats, and may be a bit easier to get. They're shiny, plastic coins (usually coming in blue, purple, green, gold, and silver colors).

    The organizers of the floats - the people who are masked and riding in the floats - are responsible for purchasing the beads and doubloons and as such, make the decisions as to whom they'll throw these spoils along the parade route. Quite often, the really nice glass beads, the more ornate "pearls", are saved, to be distributed later to family and friends at the balls.

    See the beads hanging from the float

    Was this review helpful?

  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Mardi Gras Customs

    by keeweechic Updated Jun 11, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The throwing of trinkets to the crowds was started by Twelfth Night Revellers in the early 1870's and has been an expectation every since. Today these trinkets are replaced by doubloons which are aluminium and come in many different colours. The represent the parade theme on one side and the Krewe's emblem on the other. They are prized possessions and collectors pieces so be prepared for the fight to grab them. Other popular throws include long pearl beads, stuffed animals and cups (otherwise known as New Orleans dinnerware. The brightly coloured beads are everywhere in stores and markets in New Orleans.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jschukal's Profile Photo

    Beads are power! Whether...

    by Jschukal Written Aug 24, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beads are power! Whether you're a girl or a guy, you can have a lot of fun here. This is about the only non x-rated picture of a bead exchange. I don't know what the site rules are and I don't want to get kicked off so this is the best you'll get. By the way, if you're this girl, I need you to contact me!

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: New Orleans

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

30 travelers online now


View all New Orleans hotels