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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mard Gras

Mardi Gras in southern Louisiana is a holiday seemingly bigger than Christmas. The schools are closed for 3-5 days. The celebration includes many parties, balls, and parades. The parades are hosted by a Krewe and each parade has a Grand Marshall and a King and Queen. The first parade we went to was in Houma. We set out to go to the parade and were running a bit late. As we approached the parade route there were hundreds of people lined up on the side of the road. Cars parked on lawns, driveways, and the side of the road. Soon we were blocked into the parking lot that we parked in. We waited, and waited, and waited; for three hours we waited for the parade to start watching people become undisciplined with themselves and their kids. We were introduced to Houma’s “finest” and were ready to go home before the parade even started but we were unable to leave the parking lot so we waited some more. Finally, ten or so Mardi Gras police motorcycles came whizzing down the road in a figure 8 motion. They speed in the figure 8 revving up their engines and getting the people excited. In the distance music can be heard and voices yelling. The excitement escalates until the float is in front of us and we are showered with beads. We grab for the beads and put them on. The people next to us give us a bag to gather our loot and tell us they have more when that one is full. We think they are crazy but the bag is soon full of beads, candy, cups, and little trinkets from the parade. Now, we’re having fun! Julian gets into the spirit yelling at the floaters to throw him some loot. The parade has dancers, school bands, funny cars and many, many floats that come one after the other. We end up with two bags of loot and a bunch of stuff that we kept dropping back at the car.

On Saturday we met the Morrisons in Metarie for another parade. This one had Al Roker as the Grand Marshall. He was up on a float waving and throwing beads and plastic cups with his picture on them. We were introduced to the weirdness of Mardi Gras territory wars as we tried to find a spot to watch the parade. People come out and stay all night to claim their territory. They mark their spot with chairs and coolers sometimes even spray painting their grid or marking it with rope. We invaded someone’s territory and were soon told this is against the rules. Jaime got into it with the woman trying to understand the whole thing. We ended up moving a couple of feet down the street and that was ok with her. A nice lady in that “territory” told us we could sit in her chair if we got tired. We were seeing all angles of the crowd. This parade had bigger floats with tons of loot. We brought a big canvas bag and soon filled it. Julian scored an official Mardi Gras bag and by the end that was full too. It was fun doing a parade with our seasoned family who lives in Mandeville. They understand the whole Mardi Gras thing and tried to explain it all to us. We had a great time but the parade was followed by another parade and by about halfway through that we were hungry and tired and we bailed out. The Morrisons bailed out too. I am glad I made it down in time to have a taste of this interesting season. People decorate their homes for Mardi Gras and King Cakes are plentiful in the grocery stores. Next year we will plan ahead. There is a magazine that comes out and describes the parades and who will be in them. It is a good way to plan for a successful Mardi Gras season.


  • Oh my - sounds stranger than Nevis!!! Sounds like you had a good time. When does Jaime start???

    By Blogger Dusti, at 6:09 PM  

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