Sorry for the hiatus. This semester is a busy one. I finished a paper that was keeping me from my advanced degree, and have been attending a course to get my administrator license. So things have been on the busy side.
I did have the opportunity to go to New Orleans for work back in February. This will be part one of a three series post on New Orleans.
So not only did I get to go to New Orleans for a work conference (that I love going to each year), but I got to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras has never been on my bucket list (but Burning Man is, funnily enough), but when the opportunity arises, you take it.
I really didn’t know much about Mardi Gras before I started doing my research (like the fact that the parades start weeks ahead of actual Fat Tuesday, and that almost all of the parades do not happen in the French Quarter). I was glad I read ahead of time, it did help me prepare.
The day started with eating some king cake, the traditional sugary sweet pastry with a hidden baby inside. It was pretty delicious, but hard to eat more than a few bites.
After king cake it was time for parades. There are several parades that happen on Mardi Gras, and almost two dozen that happen in the weeks leading up to the day. I went to the Zulu Parade, and watched from the edge of Louis Armstrong park. The parade took a little more than three hours to get from where it started to where I was watching, and it still had a little more to go. These parades are serious. The Zulu parade is a predominantly African American parade, and the costumes and colors were incredible. I didn’t get any of the coconuts they were handing out, but that was ok.
I wandered back to my AirBnB apartment by going through the French Quarter, which was, as you’d predict, pretty crazy. There were tons of people in every direct once you got to Bourbon Street, and plenty of people on the side streets too. Beads were flying from the second story balconies, and small parades marched up the side streets. It was pretty spectacular.
I wandered by a drag queen show in the street, but the people were so thick, it was hard to move, and I definitely couldn’t see, so I returned to my apartment for a bit. I went out on Bourbon Street again later, and it was shocking.
I mean, the fact that it was quieter at 8pm than it was at 1pm, was shocking. I suppose I should have figured that most people would be done celebrating by later in the evening, but I thought it would be busier at night. I was wrong, but it was nice to be wrong. I enjoyed listening to various street musicians and called it a night before the midnight street sweeping that the New Orleans Police Department do to clear the streets of people and begin the cleanup. Mardi Gras is officially checked off the bucket list.
Part two will focus on the tourist attractions and main spots in the French Quarter. Part three will be about the less touristy spots and smaller adventures I took in New Orleans. Come back soon to read more!