METAIRIE, La. (WAFB) - Some people see rejection as the end of the road. For Metairie artist, Joycelyn Boudreaux, it was only a necessary step in the pursuit of success.
Mardi Gras 2018: Boudreaux was riding in her first New Orleans parade.
“I saw people side-stepping plastic beads,” Boudreaux said. “They were falling on the ground and people weren’t picking them up.”
The thought that people did not want what she was throwing was more than she could bear.
“You should love what you throw,” she said. “What you throw should be worth picking up.”
Coming off her float that year, Boudreaux made a decision.
“I’m not buying from China anymore,” she said. “I’m just not buying plastic beads. People don’t want them.”
Instead, Boudreaux bought a laser. Then, she taught herself graphic design and began cranking out art she could throw away.
Boudreaux uses her laser to cut 3D trinkets out of birch plywood. She throws on a little paint, a little glue, then runs a waxed cotton cord through it, and she has a float throw people clamor for.
“The first year, I made 800 of them, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I made 800!’” Boudreaux said. “People were excited. I got tons of questions about it.”
Boudreaux’s sailing artwork caught the eye of several big Carnival krewes. She spent most of 2019 figuring out how to ramp up her operation. Then came the call from the 610 Stompers marching krewe.
Boudreaux made thousands of glittery, gold sneakers for the Stompers. It was the start of something big for the Stompers and revelers alike.
“They want something special,” Boudreaux said. “They want something unique. They want something handmade.”
Boudreaux is solving two problems along the parade route. She’s making throws people will pick up off the ground, but if they somehow end up in a storm sewer, the only part of of these throws that is not biodegradable is the bit of glitter she uses for accents.
“I believe one day, I will be able to ex glitter out of the equations because my designs have taken off,” she said.
This year, three big krewes will feature Boudreaux’s one-of-a-kind creations; she’s also designing themed throws for several floats. But with the 2021 parade season still uncertain, you don’t have to stand on a crowded parade route to get your hands on Boudreaux’s throws. This year, you can find them for sale on her art studio website.
"I want to see them dance," Boudreaux said. "I want to see them smile."
And it was all made possible by a dose of rejection.
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