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For New Orleans, Mr. Bingle stands as more than an anthropomorphic flying snowman and a coveted doll that the old Maison Blanche department store began selling in 1949.
He’s an icon, present through his decades as a Christmastime staple in the Crescent City. He has adorned Mardi Gras season parade floats, been displayed in City Park for Celebration in the Oaks and attracted New Orleanians everywhere as fans.
Mr. Bingle was born on Apple Street, where Emile Alline, the advertising designer of Maison Blanche at the time, created a cuddly snowman from cotton. Wearing an ice cream cone for a hat, the character was named Mr. Bingle by the store’s management, so that the character’s initials matched those of the store.
The character quickly grew in popularity, attracted hard-core fans who call themselves Bingleholics and keep his spirit alive each holiday season.
Jessica Williams contributed to this report.
Mr. Bingle and Santa Claus
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:26 pm
Mr. Bingle and Santa Claus are holiday staples in New Orleans.
Mr. Bingle 1962
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:23 pm
Santa Claus and Mr. Bingle decorate the front of the Maison Blanche department store on Canal Street in New Orleans on Dec. 18, 1962.
Mr. Bingle 1982
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:21 pm
Lauren Delling, 3, greets Mr. Bingle at Clearview Shopping Center in Metairie on Nov. 21, 1982. The helicopter arrival of Santa Claus and Mr. Bingle at the mall topped the Mardi Gras meeting of Rex and Comus as the social event of the year for the baby carriage brigade of several hundred children and parents. “This is the first time Mr. Bingle has appeared in lifelike form, and the first time he has come to the suburbs,” said Monroe Horton, manager of the Maison Blanche store in Clearview. In the past, Mr. Bingle appeared only in marionette and statue form.
Mr. Bingle 1984
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:31 pm
Oscar Isentraut poses with Santa Claus and Mr. Bingle puppets at Maison Blanche in 1984.
Mr. Bingle puppet shown in 2002
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:28 pm
Estelle Crayton, shown Dec. 17, 2002, has collected Mr. Bingles for 17 years.
Mr. Bingle float 2004
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:31 pm
The Canal Street float in the Knights of Jason parade carries a Mr. Bingle figure in Metairie on Feb. 20, 2004.
Mr. Bingle at Celebration in the Oaks 2005
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:33 pm
Mr. Bingle is displayed at Celebration in the Oaks in City Park in New Orleans on Dec. 9, 2005.
Mr. Bingle hitches a ride 2006
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:32 pm
Mr. Bingle is attached to the grill of an 18-wheel truck being used to help with storm recovery in St. Bernard Parish on March 21, 2006.
Mr. Bingle 2020
Dec 9, 2022 – 5:22 pm
Susie Andres, a member of Da Binglettes, poses with Mr. Bingle during the Allstate Sugar Bowl Christmas in Lafreniere Park Run/Walk in Metairie on Dec. 12, 2020.
Nov 15, 2022 – 11:40 pm
Original Mr. Bingle figures are displayed during a luncheon of the Bingleholics fan club to celebrate the 75th birthday of Mr. Bingle on Nov. 12, 2022, at Augie’s Restaurant in Harahan.