The initiative provided jobs for 35 out-of-work Mardi Gras parade artists.

By Mike Pomranz
February 16, 2021
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A Popeyes float restaurant
Credit: Popeyes

An end to the COVID-19 pandemic didn't come quickly enough to keep New Orleans' Mardi Gras festivities from being canceled this year, but even without parades, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen still wanted to find a way for locations in its home town to celebrate Fat Tuesday—so the chain hired out-of-work Mardi Gras artists to turn their buildings into stationary recreations of Mardi Gras floats.

Today—yes, it's Fat Tuesday already—three Popeyes locations in The Big Easy will be transformed into Mardi Gras parade "floats" courtesy of Kern Studios/Mardi Gras World, which Popeyes describes as "the pre-imminent New Orleans based event production company that produces the largest parades for Mardi Gras [employing] over 350 artists, sculptors, contractors and drivers for Mardi Gras."

In a short video created by Popeyes, the chain highlights the concerns of Kern Studio's employees after the parade was canceled. Project manager Edwin "Buddy" Dunn points out that this was "the first time in 39 years we were worried that we weren't going to have work for Mardi Gras." While digital fabricator LiannaMae Smith states, "When we heard that Mardi Gras was being cancelled, we were pretty petrified and terrified about what was going to be happening next." In all, Popeyes says they were able to put 35 people to work with this initiative.

A Popeyes float restaurant
Credit: Popeyes

Of course, they didn't film that video this morning, so as WDSU News reported a couple weeks ago, customers at the Popeyes at 4238 S Claireborne Avenue were treated to an early viewing of what these converted restaurants currently look like. That location was designed as a tribute to frontline workers featuring statues of people in traditional carnival garb alongside those of doctors and nurses. The other two locations that have been decorated are 1243 St. Charles Avenue and 3100 Carrollton Avenue.

A Popeyes float restaurant
Credit: Popeyes

"We believe celebrating Mardi Gras in even a small way at our restaurants can bring a bit of joy to our guests and the people of NOLA," Bruno Cardinali, CMO of Popeyes, stated. "The restaurants will help to keep Mardi Gras workers employed while also giving customers the opportunity to experience a little piece of Mardi Gras culture and joy at Popeyes."

Meanwhile, for those not in New Orleans but who still want a little bit of Mardi Gras fun, Popeyes says that customers will receive a limited-edition Mardi Gras-themed cup with the purchase of a small drink at participating locations while supplies last. While you're there, you can try Popeyes' new Cajun Flounder Sandwich which was just launched last week.