BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man with a talent for creating life-sized Carnival beads has come up with an idea that could make them less harmful to the environment.
The thrill of parade season and the fancy throws that come with it are sometimes hard to resist. Every year, the throws get more lavish.
No one knows that better than perhaps Marcus Ciko, also known as "Bead Man." For three decades, the founder of 3D Beads has been obsessed with making beads bigger and better.
"It started in 1985-86, when we started making the puppy dogs out of the thread beads that come in from China," Ciko said.
Ciko said that at the turn of the century he started taking those tiny puppy dog beads and expanding them into oversized necklaces designed to move like gears, look like flowers, and spin like a top. He has even made his own glow-in-the-dark bead costume to wear to parades in New Orleans.
"I felt I could see these beads on every float in the city when I went out to a double parade one night and saw everybody looking at the beads," Ciko said.
While he has been enjoying the attention, Ciko has also been working on creating something new. It is a biodegradable bead that would not pollute the ozone. Ciko said the ingredients are grown in Louisiana.
"It's readily available. It's natural. It's a renewable resource, and it'll make the beads less expensive," Ciko said.
Ciko said it won't sacrifice style. He added that since the beads will be less expensive than the plastic beads ones that currently adorn revelers during Mardi Gras, there will likely be more throws to go around.
"I think it's going to take off because there seems to be a large demand for this kind of product at this point," Ciko said.
If everything goes as planned, Ciko said the biodegradable beads should be available for purchase next Carnival season.