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Nixing plastic beads

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  When the Krewe of Freret rolls in 2014, parade goers will see the return of a krewe that has been absent from the Uptown Mardi Gras route since the 1990s. What they may not see, however, are strands of plastic beads.

  "We just don't want to be part of more waste," co-captain Bobby Hjortsberg said. "Because we're the new krewe and we're going to do things differently, this is one way we're going to do it."

  Recently formed Carnival groups such as Krewe du Vieux and Chewbacchus already favor handmade throws over beads, and this Halloween's Krewe of Boo has announced a plan to throw only Louisiana-made products.

  Freret may borrow more than that idea from Boo. Hjortsberg said the krewe is considering renting Boo's floats and repurposing them for their own theme while raising money for their first custom floats — in hopes that the procession will still be new to locals who miss the Halloween parade. Hjortsberg suggested the krewe could partner with Freret businesses to create keepsake items emblazoned with their logos, such as key chains or bottle openers.

  Freret is tentatively set to roll at 4 p.m. Feb. 22, 2014, the Saturday of the first weekend of Carnival. That could become the busiest day of the season on the Uptown route. The krewes of Pontchartrain and Choctaw will roll at 2 p.m., and Freret will be followed by the Knights of Sparta and the Krewe of Pygmalion that evening, suggesting that ample amounts of plastic beads will still remain for the street sweepers at the end of the night. — Robert Morris, Uptown Messenger

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