I often myself telling people, “I go to Mardi Gras every year,” only to get a side-eyed look of curiosity as if to say, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were that type of girl.” I could easily imagine the idea they get, but I don’t have to. They tell me. Or ask me. Something along the lines of, “that’s when you show your boobs for beads, right?” Um, no.
They also tell me I must be one heck of a party animal, to which I say yup, Mardi Gras is basically the biggest party ever. And it’s a family affair. There are local kids running around everywhere!
Undoubtedly, the best part of Mardi Gras is the party going on along St. Charles Avenue as the parades roll down. The streetcars stop running and the neutral ground (the giant median where the streetcars run) becomes one big block party spanning the entire parade route. People set up like it’s the biggest tailgate of the year, because it is!
So wanna see some photos? Settle in and keep scrolling! I’ve got loads of them to share and a silly story about a local’s version of the restroom.
Mardi Gras parades start running in early January. The closer to Mardi Gras day, the bigger the parades get. A lot of the well-known krewes roll at night, but the day parades are some of my favorites. On Saturday, we caught the Iris and Tucks parades. We made some local friends rolling with Iris and they threw us the best beads!! Absolutely gorgeous ceramic ones that we proudly wore all the way to the airport and on our flight back to DC. And Tucks throws toy plungers and toilet paper (you’ll see my sister draped in it towards the end of the post)!
Our spot was just a few blocks away from our rental, making it super easy to get there. (Even though we ended up there later than we planned every day due to extended pregaming, outfit changes and tutu fluffing.) It’s where all my teacher friends set up their tables and tent each year. And people really settle in… The family next to us went so far as setting up a portapotty tent. One of my friends curiously watched to see what was inside. Turns out they were hauling in and out buckets of kitty litter! How gross is that? I guess it beats running for the closest bar when your in a pinch?
Speaking of nearby bars… On Thursday night we got a Mexican feast and mojitos from Juan’s Flying Burrito. The queso comes with free refills! Friday we met Summer at Dat Dog for a quick bite during happy hour. And Saturday we got big bagel sandwiches from Stein’s before the morning parades. And an obligatory king cake donut.
The parades run down one side of the road, heading towards downtown. While the other side becomes an extension of the neutral ground. People run around, toss a football and sell food from carts.
So what do you think? Does Mardi Gras look like your kind of party?