So I survived another Mardi Gras. When I first moved here, I went to as many parades, concerts and parties as I could. After a few years, the novelty wears off and the stamina wanes. The couple of times I lived on the parade route and embraced it fully. There were years where I went out of town or stayed in town and tried to avoid festivities. You can’t avoid Mardi Gras here; that’s like trying to avoid Christmas. There are Mardi Gras decorations, songs, special foods, parties, and it’s every where. There are also good Mardi Gras experiences and bad ones. Since Katrina, we’ve stayed and played. I’m still recuperating, but I think a lingering cold may have something to do with that.
First parade was Krewe de Vieux, Feb 7. They parade in the Marigny and French Quarter and walk the route with small, satirical, plus some vulgar floats. G hates the French Quarter and never wants to go. I had a plan and a back up plan. Plan A: meeting people in the Marigny, fell apart because we left late (my fault). Plan B: go to friend’s gallery on Royal Street went into action. We parked, hoofed it across the Quarter and had dinner at Gato Negro. Some neighbors sat next to us and we all discussed how KdV never starts on time and they would be slow so we were fine with time. We finished dinner and walked over to our friend’s gallery. Much to our surprise the parade had already passed! So we did a quick 180 and scooted over to Decatur, as did everyone else in the Quarter. The last few floats went flying by at warp speed. G refuses to go ever again.
You get spoiled living in the part of Uptown we do where you can walk a few blocks from your home to the parades. Having to get in a car, drive and park? We scoff at that notion. And we’ve learned to be selective about which parades we attend. Thursday before Mardi Gras (this year Feb. 19) is Muses along with Babylon and Chaos. Muses is hands down one of our favorite parades: it’s beautiful, funny, lots of marching bands, with creative throws. Bonus this year is the new extended Uptown route now starting at Jefferson and Magazine. It was a joy to see Muses and the other parades on Magazine. No huge crowds or obnoxious walls o’ ladders. Some friends of ours have a party for Muses so that makes it even more enjoyable. At any time a parade can stall and this night there was about an hour delay as a Chaos float broke down. Muses stood still on Magazine in front of us. People walked around, some went back to the party for more food. A friend visiting from out of town found me, so we sat in some chairs and caught up. This seemed to be the year of speeding parades. Once Muses started rolling they flew by. I was trying to find friends in the dance groups but only found one. Speedy parades are no fun because you can’t take in the whole float decoration and you catch less throws.