In the Spirit of Fat Tuesday I am posting an article I wrote 2 years ago when I spent a couple of days in New Orleans for Mardi Gras before we left port for our 25th Anniversary cruise.
Everyone must experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans at least once in their lives!
We spent two days in New Orleans the Thursday and Friday before Fat Tuesday. Hubby and I were to set sail for our 25th Anniversary Caribbean Cruise from the New Orleans port the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. Since we had never been to New Orleans, thought it would be fun to spend a couple of days checking out all the Mardi Gras festivities and New Orleans beforehand.
The first thing on my list was chicory coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Even though we waited in line, those melt in your mouth puffs of delicious pastry were well worth it! After that we just strolled around going in and out of shops. At this point we just wanted to take in the French Quarter and decided we would make Friday our Bourbon Street Day. Loving Paris as much as I do, I loved the charm of the French Quarter.
After spending our daytime Thursday exploring, it was time to scout out a spot on St. Charles Street to catch our first parades. It was a cold night and the parades ran late, but we caught lots of throws and had fun. We were lucky enough to be watching the parade next to a couple who were from outside New Orleans and were more than happy to give us lots of history. This turned out to be perfect since we didn’t really know what a Krewe was, much less the meaning behind those throws. Some throws being so coveted, if you catch one, you practically turn into a parade celebrity instantly!
Since we stayed outside the city, we had taken a bus to get down to the French Quarter. Since the parades ended rather late, we had trouble getting back to our hotel. Finding a taxi was almost a nightmare, there were so many people searching for them. We wandered the street trying to find a taxi. This was the only time I felt unsafe as there were more than a few intoxicated people walking around and fights breaking out. My one word of advice, either stay close to the French Quarter, or make sure you drive your car in and park if you stay outside the city. In the end, we found a taxi and made it back to the hotel.
We spent all day Friday exploring the French Quarter and observing all the craziness of Bourbon Street. And I am talking CRAZINESS!! We never once felt we were too old to take part in all the festivities. There were people of all ages standing beneath balconies catching beads.
I must say carrying all those beads around our neck was hard work. Of course I had a couple hurricanes to get me in the spirit.
We spent the afternoon roaming up and down Bourbon Street.
Taking in the impromptu parades, catching beads and other things was a highlight as Hubby proudly caught a bedazzled bra which is now proudly displayed in his man-cave. I must say the highlight was observing all the people. Yes, there were some bare chested women and even some less than fully clothed men and I would say Bourbon Street is not for young children.
We never felt unsafe at anytime during the day, but when the sun started to fade, it seemed the whole atmosphere shifted. We decided we had seem one too many intoxicated people stumbling around and retreated to the peace and quiet of our hotel room. After the taxi experience the night before we took the car and drove into the city on Friday.
It was a fun filled day, but we had a ship to catch the next morning!
If you love to people watch, this in THE place to do it! Honestly although I did have a few Hurricanes, you don’t need to partake in order to have fun. There is plenty to see and do in New Orleans even at Mardi Gras time without seeing it in an alcohol fueled haze. My hubby doesn’t drink and he still enjoyed himself (note-bedazzled bra in his man-cave).
For this 50-something couple who spend more Saturday nights at home watching a movie than partying it up, we really found Mardi Gras an experience we will never forget!