A few years ago we spent a few really great days in New Orleans and ever since we’ve had it vaguely in our heads that we should visit again for Mardi Gras. With our trusty Southwest companion pass and some points at Hyatt, we realized it would be an easy and inexpensive excursion following our long-overdue Nashville visit this year. So we went!
We thought we’d watch a parade or three but mostly just do our own thing and avoid the crowds. Well, we were sort of right. We quickly discovered how fun it is to watch the parades – each one hosted by a different organization with different themes and “throws” – and the people, as long as you’re in the right areas. (The closer to Bourbon Street you go, the taller the boozy to go cups get, the dirtier the streets get, and the the drunker the tourists get. Head west, young man, and you’ll find the families hanging out all day for some nice light beer and barbecue….) Whenever a parade started we simply walked to the Garden District and meandered down St. Charles Ave until we got to the end of the parade, stepping onto the street for each float and moseying when things got stalled. Lots of parade time, while still avoiding the unpleasant crowds.
A few particular highlights: discovering a secret tiki bar / 70s lounge hiding in the attic of a taqueria, Kristan getting pelted by bouncy balls by the Krewe of Thoth while on a training run, a dance party in the street with the 610 Stompers to “Brass Monkey” when the Krewe of Orpheus stalled, somehow walking 40 miles in 48 hours of awake time, watching little kids get stuffed animals three times their size, incredible Israeli food at Shaya, trading beads for a painted coconut from Zulu, bringing home 22 pounds of beads because we didn’t know what else to do with them….