Pleasant Acre getting beads ready for Mardi Gras

Published 1:04 am Monday, January 25, 2010

NATCHEZ — For at least one Natchez establishment Mardi Gras is several months long.

Students at Pleasant Acre Day School have spent the past few months sorting beads by color and size to get the Beads Galore Shop ready for the busy Mardi Gras season.

Mary Ann Foggo-Eidt, Pleasant Acre director, said the bead room at the center is ready for customers.

“Right now these walls look full, but in a few weeks they will be empty,” Foggo-Eidt said. “Last year, I was afraid we were going to run out of beads because we had such success.”

Pleasant Acre Day School is a learning center for special needs adults. The bead project is a multi-faceted learning project for the students, Eidt said.

The beads are donated to the school by community members year round and the students get to work in September sorting the beads. They are first sorted by color and then by size.

“They learn from the process of counting and sorting, but they also learn from the interaction they get when people come in to buy the beads,” Foggo-Eidt said.

The monies raised in the Beads Galore Shop are earmarked for special activities for the students such as their annual summer trip and regular trips out to eat. Foggo-Eidt said since the students know what the money is going toward, they get excited to see shoppers come in.

“They know when the beads are leaving, that is money for them,” she said.

Beads of all colors, sizes and lengths are available including a large number of beads in the traditional green, purple and gold of Mardi Gras, but Foggo-Eidt said the shop has something for every shopper.

The shop also gets a number of specialty beads from Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans and across south Louisiana.

“We have every type of bead you could get at a Mardi Gras World,” she said. “Some krewes want certain colors, and we always have them.”

Beads are packaged by size and color. Most are packaged in packs of 12. Larger beads are packaged in smaller quantities and specialty beads are sold individually.

Beads are priced $1 per package.

The Beads Galore Shop is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is located at Pleasant Acre Day School, off of Liberty Road behind the National Guard Armory in Natchez.