The Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws

Credit Josh Brown


The Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws, a Northshore organization that raises funds to benefit the community, is determined to continue its efforts even if they can’t parade this season. The krewe will parade later in 2021 in Downtown Covington but, in the meantime, will celebrate Carnival with more than a month of free fun.

From Jan. 23 through Feb. 20, Mutty Gras will offer such things as giveaways, virtual costume contests and pop-up events. Members of the Mardi Paws Krewe are inviting all fun-loving canines and their humans to join in all the fun.

“Mardi Paws is truly a parade with a purpose,” says Mardi Paws spokesperson, Denise Gutnisky.  “It’s put on by a handful of volunteers each year who are trying to make a difference in the lives of people and pets in our community through our volunteer nonprofits, Scott’s Wish and the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. It’s our 27th year now, and we had almost 500 parading dogs and their families at last year’s parade.  Mardi Paws is one of our largest annual fundraisers.”

Along with their events, the organization is also joining in this year’s Krewe of House Floats and are asking the community to create unique doghouse floats. All efforts are aimed at helping homeless pups and drawing attention to St. Tammany Parish Dept. of Animal Services, the parish’s only open-admission animal shelter.

Businesses and residents are encouraged to decorate a Mardi Gras-themed doghouse display on their property or decorate their residence, office building or business as a giant doghouse. Those families already signed up for Krewe of House Floats in New Orleans or elsewhere can become eligible for the Doghouse Float contest by simply adding a dog house to their existing display.

“The creative camaraderie that Mardi Paws embodies wanted to join in on the fun of the New Orleans house float craze by keeping Mardi Gras socially-distanced this year — that’s three Labradors Retrievers apart,” says Gutnisky.

The organization is also hosting virtual events, including:

  • A Costume Contest: Dogs should be dressed in a Louisiana-themed costume – honoring the Saints, a favorite college team, alligators or anything else everyone loves about the state – and share a photo with Mardi Paws;
  • A Selfie Contest, Quarantine Edition: Dogs can pose for a picture showing how they’re celebrating Carnival season in this most unusual of years;
  • A Poop Throw Decorating Contest: One of the most fun parts of the actual Mardi Paws parade is the tossing of bedazzled “poops.” Now anyone can decorate the poop-shaped foam throws;
  • A Flagship Float: Mardi Paws will have a special float on display at Baldwin Subaru, a local car dealer that’s committed to bettering the lives of all pets. Visitors can easily view the float from their cars or jump out to get photos of this one-of-a-kind float; and
  • Social Media Contests and Giveaways: Everyone should keep an eye on Mardi Paws’ social media pages to participate in a variety of games and contests that offer incredible prizes.


The Charities Mardi Paws Supports

The Ian Somerhalder Foundation delivers unique programs and services and provides public outreach, education, and grants in support of creatures, Environment, youth, and grassroots initiatives.

Louisiana-born Ian Somerhalder is an actor, environmentalist and humanitarian known professionally for his work in the WB hit TV series, “The Vampire Diaries,” the ABC critically acclaimed drama, “Lost,” and the ground-breaking climate change documentary series, “Years of Living Dangerously.

Scott’s Wish was founded by family and friends in memory of Scott Lala, who passed away from Leukemia on January 19, 2008. Its mission is to assist with the financial burdens of those undergoing treatment for leukemia and other devastating illnesses. Scott’s Wish assists patients, families and caretakers with the cost of travel, lodging, and other expenses necessary for the treatment and care of those persons suffering from leukemia or other devastating illnesses. It works closely with social services at leading hospitals and research facilities to close the gap of financial need and offers help for unusual assistance requests such as car repairs, storage fees, or wheelchair ramps.

For more information on the Mardi Paws group, find more details about how to participate in all the fun or to make a taxable donation to its programs on behalf of animals and children, visit the website at or the Facebook page.




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Categories: Labors of Love