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Bead Trees in Full Bloom

With Mardi Gras over, trees along the parade routes start to shine
Bead Tree
Posted at 9:09 PM, Feb 21, 2023

Louisiana may not have much when it comes to fall foliage, but this time of year many trees along the parade routes start to shine.

“It has beads on it all the time, we call it our Mardi Gras tree,” said UL junior Alliyah Williams, who walks by a “bead tree” almost every day near campus on Johnston Street.

“It’s very cool, it’s just one of the unique things about Lafayette and Louisiana this time of year,” said Williams.

The trees catch beads from the passing parades, and in turn catch attention year-round.

“It’s a constant reminder of all of the fun, and all of the celebration and the revelry that we do every year,” said Erin Rovin, a New Orleans author who found inspiration in the glittery trees.

“I remember the first time I had seen one in full bloom. I was on a street car and I had been visiting here,” said Rovin. “I stopped, got out, and stared at it and took a million pictures of it and just loved it.”

Rovin later wrote a children’s book called The Little Bead Tree. The book is about a small oak on the neutral ground in New Orleans that feels inadequate, and compares itself to a “grand” live oak nearby.

“And the grand oak just keeps telling him ‘you’re a special tree, you’ll see, your day will come,’” said Rovin. “And pretty soon it’s Mardi Gras day and at the end of the parades he’s revealed as the iconic little bead tree.”

“I think the message is good for all of us,” said Rovin. “ We all need a little bit of feeling like we’re special sometimes even when we don’t feel like it.”