His Ladders Line St. Charles
Six feet above Mardi Gras, toddlers perch in hand-crafted wooden buckets, screaming for beads and driving some locals crazy.
Not every stretch of New Orleans’s Mardi Gras parades is dominated by booze, beads and breasts. There are places on St. Charles Avenue where the sidewalks fill with something more humble: ladders that come dressed for the occasion, decked out in purple, green and gold. On their tops, far above the kegs and coolers, sit elaborate boxes where kids perch to watch the parade, forming a Mardi Gras society all their own six feet above the ground. Secured by metal bars, their legs dangle through holes in the ground as they sit in custom-built crow’s nests bearing their names, or that of a sibling who outgrew the box long ago.
Although some parents purchase their boxes pre-made, George Brower would never let someone else do his parade work for him. This New Orleans transplant has built around 100 ladders since 1986, many of them deluxe models that can seat up to four children. On parade day, he will line up about twenty ladders, occupying a stretch of oak-lined sidewalk …