Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mardi Gras!

We had such a fun Mardi Gras this year! This was our second Mardi Gras in New Orleans.   Last year, we did one Metairie (suburban) parade, then the whole family came down with some horrible virus and we had to sit the rest out.  This year, we were determined to do more, embrace the madness, and enjoy it.  I think we succeeded!

I checked a few books out of the library on Mardi Gras and read them to the kids.  I wanted them to understand a little more about the origin and meaning of this crazy holiday that turns our city upside down for several weeks every winter.  Their favorite, though it's not particularly factual, is Dinosaur Mardi Gras.  I actually bought that one at Sams and we read it over and over and over again.  

I made a Mardi Gras wreath for our front door.  Turns out I forgot to get a picture of it.  Mardi Gras decor is nearly as common as Christmas decor down here.  And the seasons for them run back to back.  Christmas comes down and Mardi Gras decor goes up on Epiphany.  I take my Christmas down earlier than that, so we had a week or so undecorated.  Good enough.  Chick-fil-A was even decorated for Mardi Gras!

The first parade we did this year was the Krewe of Barkus.  It's a dog parade.  Hazel was indignant, "How can dogs ride floats and throw beads?!" Well, they can't.  But it sure was fun to walk into the quarter and watch the doggies in costume and let their people throw us some beads and other treasures.  My kids came home loaded down!

Fake doogy poop--a throw appropriate for Barkus!

the final haul from Barkus
The next weekend, we participated in the Destrehan Farmer's Market kiddie parade.  My kids wanted a spider man float, so that's what we did.  I watched the parade with my friend Andrea, while David and the kids pulled the wagon float and tossed some beads.  It was a small event (we were one of maybe a half dozen participants), but they loved it.  

On Mardi Gras Day itself (Fat Tuesday), we went with the Schaffs Uptown to watch Rex.  This was both a first time to take the kids to a parade Uptown, and a first time to go see a parade on Fat Tuesday.  It was SO fun! Not at all intimidating or hard to navigate, like I feared.  It helps to go with people who have lived here forever and done this for years. ;) 

Daddies, kids, and gear
two Schaffs, two Wallaces
a picture that Hazel took on my phone.  Look how enormous the floats are to the little kids!!

Jono was a bit of a grouch that morning, but custody of David's camera helped give him something productive to do rather than complain.  He's not a bad little photographer!

Throw me something, Mister!

I'll spare you my rant on the reality of Mardi Gras for families in New Orleans compared to the image the rest of the nation has of our city and this holiday.  Suffice it to say, beads abound, no shirt lifting required.  Mardi Gras really is completely excellent, FAMILY FRIENDLY FUN!!  

Next year, I'm staying up late for Muses! 


Pheobe said...

I'm really glad I read your post. I definitely had some preconceived notions about Mardi Gras. Now I want to read more so I understand what it's really about!

Erin said...

I"m glad you read it, too! Generally, the Bourbon Street nonsense is confined to Bourbon Street, in the French Quarter. None of the big parades go through the Quarter, so the parades are really super fun and totally family friendly!