We don’t care what the Christmas carol says; Mardi Gras is the most wonderful time of the year. Carnival season is when New Orleans culture and heritage shines the brightest, loudest, and with the most glitter. It is a time for New Orleanians to hit the streets and celebrate as a community with the most flamboyant party on earth. However, many of us do not take notice of what goes into making Mardi Gras. Over $1 billion of Mardi Gras beads are sold in the US each year. A vast majority of those beads are made in factories abroad. Furthermore, they are made of toxic, petroleum-based chemicals, oftentimes in factories whose workers are treated inhumanely. Not to mention the heaps of waste these throws create! New Orleanians are looking to turn that around. Many organizations in the City are rallying around the idea of taking hold of the Carnival economy. We want to create jobs, support our local artists, and shift away from petroleum-based beads that harm our citizens, our wildlife, and our environment. We want to enjoy all the decadence and creative expression of Mardi Gras, while assuming a role of stewardship for our culture, planet, and people. Throw Me Something Local: A Green Mardi Gras Ball will be an evening that brings attention to the importance of a locally produced Mardi Gras. The event will include a local throw competition, a recycled costume contest, local beer and food, and of course, dancing! Click here for more information about the event. Click here to register for the "Throw me Something Local!" contest. We would like to thank our partners in the event for all of the work they do to help strengthen our local economy and protect our natural resources. Stay Local! is the Greater New Orleans Independent Business Alliance. They connect residents with New Orleans’ local businesses, the cornerstones of our distinctive local character, culture and economy. I Heart Louisiana is an organization aimed at creating an economically and environmentally sustainable Mardi Gras. They connect Krewes to local artists, factories, farmers, organizations and businesses in order to promote an environmentally and socially responsible Carnival. Through their activities, they strive to strengthen our local economy and protect our natural resources. Verdi Gras is a non-profit aimed at advocating for more environmentally sustainable Carnival practices and shifting our dependence away from foreign, petroleum based throws. Zombeads is an organization that offers a line of locally sourced and recycled material throws. They also partner with independently owned businesses abroad that produce throws made by women living in poverty who are paid fair living wages. Nola Brewing is a local brewery that takes steps to be more environmentally and socially responsible. Because New Orleans does not recycle glass, they only use cans for their beers. The can holders are furthermore made of recycled plastic and are marine-life friendly. They source their ingredients locally when possible, donate their spent grain to a local cattle farm, and support local non-profits like the Gulf Restoration Network. Where Y’Art is a curated community of New Orleans creators, artists, makers and designers. They provide an online marketplace for artists to display and sell their work. They also provide creative and entrepreneurial resources to support the local artists that they work with. Where Y’Art’s founders Catherine Todd and Collin Ferguson will be judging the recycled costume contest!