Let The Good Times Roll With This Festive Mardi Gras Brunch

Textile designer Beetle Hillery Antonatos gathers with her friends for a bright, celebratory brunch.

Mardi Gras Table Crop

Alison Gootee Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

“Everywhere else, the end of the holiday season feels like a downer,” says Beetle Hillery Antonatos, the New Orleans native behind Palm Orleans, a textile and wallpaper collection inspired by her hometown and upbeat Palm Beach, Florida. “I lived in New York for a while, and January was just the beginning of the year. But here, that’s when all the Mardi Gras balls start taking place.”

While the preliminary celebrations begin ramping up just 12 days after Christmas, it’s not until the weekend before Fat Tuesday that the Crescent City enters full party mode and groups of revelers (dubbed “krewes”) fill the streets for the parades. Here’s how Antonatos kicks off the festivities.

Mardi Gras Table Setting
The glass beads set out on the table are an eco-friendly version of this parade staple.

Alison Gootee Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Take Color Cues From The Krewe

Along with her mother and her friends, Antonatos belongs to the Krewe of Iris, the oldest (and now largest) all-women Mardi Gras organization in New Orleans. “In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of the rainbow,” says the designer. “This city is all about color, so we see a fun connection.” Purple is one of the group’s signature shades. She cloaked the table in the hue, using her collection’s Carnival Toile fabric in Wisteria.

The Pelican Club Table
Antonatos and her friends always meet at The Pelican Club Restaurant and Bar.

Alison Gootee Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Lean In To The Theme

Antonatos set the scene with a tablecloth in Palm Orleans’ Gator Moire design in Wisteria and cocktail napkins in the Tulipes de Marche fabric in the Garden District colorway, plus glasses and silver borrowed from family members. But the bar’s crowning touch is the glittering Mardi Gras accessory on display.

“The parades often have queens, and they wear these collars,” says the designer about her auction find. As for the brunch’s cocktail, only something as effervescent as Mardi Gras itself will do: Bubbly mimosas with festive garnishes like raspberries and rosemary are always on the menu.

The Mardi Gras Bar
The bar’s tablecloth and cocktail napkins feature Palm Orleans fabric and put a playful spin on two traditional Mardi Gras colors.

Alison Gootee Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Follow Nature’s Lead

Rather than making one large centerpiece, Antonatos opted to display small clusters of irises in an assortment of mismatched glass vessels. These little arrangements are not just easier to pull together; they’re also a nod to the blooms’ natural surrounds. “I wanted them to look like they do in the bayou. Louisiana irises are swamp flowers,” she explains.

Iris Table Display
The glass beads set out on the table are an eco-friendly version of this parade staple.

Alison Gootee Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Strike A Balance

To infuse the space with a feeling of unfussy elegance, Antonatos embraced a mix of old and new. She anchored the table with her cousin’s traditional china and her aunt’s crystal glasses and then sprinkled in a few fresh do-it-yourself touches made with items she had on hand, like the party poppers crafted from her Oysters Jubilee paper and place cards fashioned from old Champagne corks. For those, she simply cut a small slit into each bottle topper and tucked in a calligraphed card.

Cork Table Settings

Alison Gootee Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

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