Celebrating Mardi Gras

    The images that most people have of a New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration usually include the French Quarter, lots of drinking, and the like. There is another side to Mardi Gras that the people of the area know well, but is not heard of much outside of our area. Mardi Gras is carnival season, starting on the twelfth night after Christmas and proceeding up to Fat Tuesday. The way that we celebrate is with friends and family. Food is the centerpiece and everything revolves around the parade schedules. For four weekends, Mardi Gras parades rule. They generally run from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, but a scattered few run on Thursday and Monday. They contain from 35 to 80 floats and last just a few hours from 11am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday and again from 6-9 pm during the week, except for Fat Tuesday. On Fat Tuesday the parades line up one behind the other, and run from 9am until 9 pm. That is the ultimate parade of parades. Each rider on each float throws an average of $400 worth of throws per parade. Floats carry from 30 to 80 or more riders. That means lots and lots of throws for everyone watching the parades. Where to go depends on who you know on a parade route. We happen to live on a parade route and each year we have an open invite to friends and family. In the area around the Gulf of Mexico, Crawfish, Crab & shrimp boils are paired with barbecued and smoked meats of all kinds. We all take turns and prepare food, from Gumbo and Jambalaya, to potato salad

and smoked sausage. Drinks, desserts, and sweets, especially the beloved king cake, are always in abundance. We eat, hangout, and enjoy each others company while waiting for the parade to march down our avenue. When the floats arrive we wander down to the side walk to catch a bevy of faux loot in the form of multi colored plastic beads and other silly trinkets. The idea is to keep your hands up and catch what is thrown to you from the people on the floats. Also by keeping your hands up in front of your face you can avoid getting hit by those beads and trinkets. Float riders keep special trinkets to give to those that they point to. When someone on a float points at you, you can either walk up to the float to retrieve your special prize, or if there are barricades set up, you do your best to catch the throw. Special throws can be anything from real jewelry to large stuffed animals. Friends and family on floats will often throw down huge troves of throws, to the envy of those standing by. One of the funniest items thrown is sheer lace women’s panties in purple, green and gold with Happy Mardi Gras and the like printed on them. They are funny because lots of people from kids to adults will pull them on over their jeans. It is hilarious to see, and I have never seen nor heard of this tradition anywhere else. We all love the parade tradition because it brings friends and family together. Mardi Gras for most is a real family affair. This year was memorable as always. Crawfish was not too abundant, due to cold weather, but the shrimp this year is terrific!



TeslasTemptress TeslasTemptress
46-50, F
1 Response Feb 25, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!