Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday!!! I can’t be in New Orleans (or Carnaval in Brazil or Carnival in Venice), so I am sending happy and revelatory thoughts to my family and friends in NOLA. Here I am sharing some pics from my New Orleans visit in 2008, my one and only Mardi Gras experience so far. Please note that there will be a lot of links in this post!
My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew had just moved to Louisiana for a year abroad in New Orleans. This is their street in the Bywater neighborhood, part of the Ninth Ward. They lived in the single shotgun house on the far right.
My brother Colin, Rusty, and myself descended upon them just about one month after they left New York. My nephew Caleb looks so little and cute here!
After a meal of oyster po boys, boudin balls, and sweet potato fries we headed over to Fifi Mahony’s to get a wig for Amanda.
Here’s Amanda trying on a pink wig. They have an awesome selection of ready-to-wear or custom options available. If you’re ever in the market for a wig I highly recommend them.
The first parade that we saw was Muses on the Friday night. Muses is the only all female parade. You can read about them here. She marched with a group called the Pussyfooters. Of course they were in motion and it was dark, but you can make her out in the back left corner of the frame. Here’s a shot of Colin helping her get ready.
On the Saturday we headed over to mid-city to a house party where we ate red beans and rice, among other things, and learned about the effects of Katrina firsthand.
As the sun set we walked a few blocks over to watch the Endymion parade. This was the first year that Endymion had returned to the neighborhood since Katrina.
Gabe and Caleb enjoying the parade.
Amanda and Rusty got into some kind of bead catching competition. It’s hard to tell who has more.
On the Sunday, we headed uptown to see the Toth parade.
Where I showed Caleb how to turn his stroller into a Mardi Gras float and Rusty got more beads.
Later that day Gabe marched with the Noisician Coalition, a band where the members make their own instruments. Keep in mind that we did all this before Mardi Gras day even started, plus all the things that happened in between the pictures like eating more, drinking, going to shows, shopping in the Quarter for masks, or at Trashy Diva (where I got this dress).
Finally! Mardi Gras Day!!! We had our king cake for breakfast, donned our costumes, and headed to the R Bar at 8:30 a.m. for a day of debauchery and revelry.
Whew! What a day and what a week! You truly need a detox week after Mardi Gras, and although most people associate it with partying (and it is a party) it’s also about community (with multiple parades in multiple neighborhoods), and creativity (you can get some idea from the pictures), and history (since 1699), and … part of the liturgical calendar. I recommend the next time you visit NOLA that you add the Presbytere, part of the Louisiana State Museum, to your list of things to do. They have an awesome permanent collection on the history of Mardi Gras, from the inception of the parades and balls to the state-wide celebration it is today.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!!!!!