Can you believe this crowd!
I’ve always considered myself a Mardi Gras veteran. No, not Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It’s a legit part of growing up down there. Going to a parade in every town and getting two days out of school to celebrate the annual party was AWESOME. There are so many memories: having play parades in school. We were fully dressed up as floats using elaborately decorated cardboard boxes while throwing beads to each other from the school auditorium stage, then getting down to Mardi Gras music, and eating cream cheese filled king cake that left your teeth stained from the purple and green granulated sugar. Of course, this was back when they actually put the plastic baby in the cake before baking, but I digress.
Even with it being such a big part of our lives, my parents still never let me go to big kid Mardi Gras an hour away in New Orleans. I’ll admit, for good reason. It’s crazy. Just the crowd of people, beads going in every direction and abundance of florescent colored adult beverages. The New Orleans festivities make the Pass Christian, MS parade, which I always found a little scandalous, seem like a kids ride in Disney World.
My best friend lives in New Orleans now, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to be in the Big Easy for Fat Tuesday. This year my parents couldn’t tell me no! Though, they haven’t talked to me about my trip yet. Passive aggressive disappointment in their grown daughter. We’ll just have to disagree on this one. I don’t plan to ever miss another Mardi Gras week in New Orleans. Funny, I lived so close to NOLA for years and only made it down once I moved all the way up to Minnesota. Maybe it’s just what I needed up here! It is kind of cold right now. It’s cold in the south, too, but not at all like this.
Watching those parades not only took me back to my childhood of fighting for every bead, cup or random made-in-China throw, but also, I have to say, the whole trip felt strangely right. I now realize it’s my cultural obligation to respect and support the tradition started by our gulf coast region ancestors from long ago. I need Mardi Gras in my life. I’m a very responsible, organized, hard working person, but the amount of chaos going on around us actually felt good. Even without my frozen drinks, I felt euphoric watching the little kids making memories, families enjoying the sights and sounds together and the true magic that Mardi Gras is and always has been from its start in Mobile, across the Mississippi Coast and through the bead pummeled streets of New Orleans.
I’ll see the rest of you revelers again February 9th, 2016.
Mardi Gras street funk – Balancing on roots during parades