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Beads are recycled, sorted, bagged and resold at Arc of New Orleans as one of the nonprofit's enterprise programs.

Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty

The last float is gone, and the house is full of Mardi Gras beads. Choose a few special ones to keep or give to friends far away, and bring the rest to the following collection points so that beads can be reused and recycled. 

Does your organization accept throws? Email asisco@theadvocate.com with the information, and we'll add it.

Hotels, libraries, schools and other locations have boxes out to collect throws. 

St. Michael's Special School, 1522 Chippewa St., accepts beads to resell and raise money for its programs.  For information call (504) 524-7285.

Beads for Military Members will collect Mardi Gras throws to allow servicemen and women stationed in New Orleans to participate in a parade next year. Volunteers with this group will collect, store and sort beads for next Carnival season, for members of the Coast Guard, Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, said Kathi Callahan, wife of retired Rear Admiral David Callahan and an organizer of the collection.

"Mardi Gras is a once–in-a-life time experience for many of our local military families as they are often here for just a short time. Participating in various parades can put a strain on military family’s budgets and can lead to some being left out. We think this is a wonderful way to help make the experience of riding on a float easy and inexpensive," Callahan said. "It’s also a great way to show our appreciation to our military.”

Drop off locations for Beads for Military Members are:

The Village at Federal City, 2300 General Meyer Ave. Bldg. 23 in Algiers (Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat 10-4, closed Sunday). Info: (504) 364-9433.

Hyatt Regency Hotel, 601 Loyola Ave., New Orleans

Holiday Inn, 330 Loyola Ave. NOLA 70112

ArcGNO, which serves developmentally disabled adults in New Orleans, accepts beads, trinkets and plush toys year-round at several locations:

Whole Foods, 5600 Magazine St.

Mardi Gras World near the Convention Center, 1380 Port of New Orleans Place

Rouses on Airline and S. Labarre, 2701 Airline Drive

The Green Project, 2831 Marais St.

And for the next two weeks, the New Orleans Public Library will collect Mardi Gras throws for The Arc at the following locations: 

Main Library, 219 Loyola Ave.

Latter Library, 5120 St Charles Ave.

Algiers Regional Branch, 3014 Holiday Drive

Norman Mayer Library,  3001 Gentilly Blvd.

Mid-City Library, 4140 Canal St.

CRC Library, 913 Napoleon Ave.

Rosa Keller Library & Community Center, 4300 S. Broad St.

Alvar Library, 913 Alvar St. 

East New Orleans Regional Library, 5641 Read Blvd.

Hubbell Library, 725 Pelican Ave. 

Would you like to host a drive for The ArcGNO? Call the Recycle Center at (504) 324-1919.

In St. Tammany, STARC's clients with disabilities repackage and sell donated beads as part of their vocational training. The money from sales helps pay their salaries.

This year, says Mel Carter, administrator of the STARC adult services division;, sales from both the Mandeville and Slidell were well over 60,000 lbs of beads.

"We really benefited from community efforts the Sheriff's Office new float that follows most parades," she said. It's called Throw Back Your Beads to STARC, and many members of the community did just that.

STARC sites in Mandeville are at 1705 Viola St., or in Slidell at 20201 Highway 190 East. Many parish schools are also collecting beads to benefit STARC.

"They can also call and we can pick them up," Carter said. "It's like curb service."

In Slidell, phone (985) 641-0197 ext 310 to arrange pick up; in Mandeville , call (985) 727-9439 Ext 410.