New Orleans paper brings back an old Mardi Gras print tradition

February 12, 2018

By the time Peter Kovacs became a working journalist, the tradition of publishing pages and pages of art showing Carnival floats had pretty much disappeared.

But Kovacs, editor of New Orleans’ The Advocate, remembered seeing pages from 100 years ago framed and displayed in businesses around town.

So in 2014, after one krewe suggested bringing the tradition back, The Advocate published seven bulletins showing renderings of seven parades.

“We were looking for ways to revive Mardi Gras traditions in print,” said Kovacs, who worked at the Times-Picayune for 29 years. “Our whole business model is about how print is not dead.”

The renderings come from the companies that create the floats, which create them before construction begins each year. The krewes don’t pay to be included in the bulletins, but advertisers do pay for the real estate on the back.

This year, starting about two weeks ago with the first of the parades, The Advocate has 16 bulletins depicting 16 krewes and their parades.

“For most people, it’s kind of a new thing,” Kovacs said, but if you live in New Orleans, you’ve probably seen some of those old ones framed on the walls of local businesses.

“So when people see it, they say ‘Oh I’ve seen that on the wall somewhere,’ ” he said.

And they might be seeing newer versions, too. The bulletins have become collectibles, Kovacs said. The Advocate plans to continue the tradition next year.

A bulletin from this year, via The Advocate