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Topic: Mardi Gras!

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AuthorTopic:   Mardi Gras!
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northern VA
posted: 2/27/2006 at 2:30:04 PM ET
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Just curious-have you ever been to Mardi Gras? What did you think? Where did you go? How many parades did you catch? If you went to Bourbon St., did you go to any parades on the Avenue (St. Charles Ave) or another place on the Uptown route, in Metairie, or the other suburbs? Did you go with locals?

I'm asking this because we met a very nice man from San Francisco yesterday. We started chatting while waiting for the beautiful Bacchus parade. He and his friends have been coming to New Orleans during Mardi Gras for the last four years. They rent on Bourbon and stay there the entire time.

Well, he was curious about the "other" Mardi Gras-the one the locals experience. None of his friends wanted to see a parade-I guess they just wanted to drink and hang out with the other tourists. So he walked from their hotel on Bourbon to where we were on St. Charles (the nearest recognizable landmark is Emeril's Delmonico restaurant, which is in the 1300 block), which is quite a walk.

He was amazed to see everybody set up with their blankets and chairs, their food and drinks, some people with barbeques, a few college kids with a soundsystem, grandmothers with their walkers, and kids tossing footballs and beads to each other (one little girl strung beads together and was jump-roping) in the street while waiting for the parades. He loved seeing all the local schools' marching bands, the jazz bands, and the floats. The vendors passing by during the breaks in between the parades, selling cotton candy, peanuts, popcorn, pizza, and little trinkets.

And he was amazed to see how easily people fall into conversation with each other, white and black families (he was Asian-American).

And he had no idea that this was how the majority of the locals celebrate Mardi Gras.

And this was in yesterday's paper, and it reminded me of how out of towners act when I tell them I am from New Orleans, and we talk about Mardi Gras:

Chris Rose's column in the Times-Picayune

Pictures from the Times-Picayune

Chris Rose alludes to the Krewe of Barkus, which is a parade of dogs and their humans. It's been around for, I guess, at least ten years or more. In the beginning, the participants were mostly gay men who dressed up their dogs for fun and to make a little fun of Mardi Gras krewes, but as the parade received more attention, they invited other dog lovers as well. Now it's one of the most popular events of the season, and a lot bigger than the first few years-but it still has that independent and loose feel about it, which is fun. A more diverse crowd you'd be hard pressed to find.

Yesterday, we went to Okeanos, Thoth, Mid-City, Bacchus, and Endymion parades. The Bacchus and Endymion parades are in the gallery. They are the two "super krewes" and are two of the most popular parades (they are also rival krewes). Endymion usually rolls the Saturday before Mardi Gras, but we had threatening weather and they postponed it to Sunday after Bacchus.

Jenn, ready for dinner tonight and Mardi Gras tomorrow!

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