Mardi Gras in New Orleans

My Mardi Gras started when I flew into New Orleans two Saturdays ago.  From the moment the party started weeks before Fat Tuesday, it never really stopped.  My days in NOLA were filled with letting the good times roll, from dancing in the streets, reuniting with old friends, to a constant flow of drinks and eating amazing food.

Speaking of amazing food, it wouldn't be a trip home without digging into a plate of boiled crawfish while sipping on Abita strawberry as soon as I got there, so that's what I did.  I caught my first parade for the Mardi Gras 2015 season the Saturday night I arrived, and I somehow survived with just a few hours of sleep the night before.  When it's Mardi Gras, you kind of just have to forget the whole sleep thing even exists because it's go go go.  
boiled crawfish and abita strawberry
The next day we caught the boat parade that goes down the river.  If there's a will in Louisiana, there's a way.  We'll turn anything into a float and throw a parade.
mardi gras boat parade
After I got my fill of parades for the weekend, I spent some time taking in the beauty of my hometown.  Some of my favorite sights are the really old oak trees with spanish moss.  They're beautiful, so I took advantage of the view while taking the dogs for a walk along the lake.
The entire time I was home, I was on the Louisiana diet:  king cake from the one and only Randazzo's, along with boiled crawfish, shrimp, and crabs.  Louisianians are basically like vampires when it comes to smelling a pot of seafood boiling.  Once we smell it, we gotta have it, even if it means driving an hour out the way to the middle of nowhere to get it.  There's a few restaurants that serve it all you can eat and it takes more willpower than I'll ever have to not want to eat the entire buffet line.
nonna randazzo's king cake
boiled crawfish
louisiana boiled blue crabs
Once the weekend rolled back around, it was time to parade all over again.  The weekend before Fat Tuesday is the biggest party weekend of the season and consists of two of the city's biggest parades, Endymion on Saturday and Bacchus on Sunday. Chris left around 5:00 am to drive in from Dallas on Saturday and made it just in time.  While the rest of the world celebrated Valentine's day, we roamed around New Orleans, claimed our spots for the best view of the parades & had ourselves a good time!new orleans house decorated for mardi gras

endymion mardi gras paradeendymion parade float
endymion parade float endymion jokers on stilts
Luke Bryan was in the Endymion parade and to prove how much of a fan I was, I made it a point to lock eyes with him and catch a bead he threw.  Turns out it was the wrong guy and who I though was Luke Bryan was actually his securtity guard.  It was a pretend fan fail to say the least.  But for the record, it was totally Luke Bryan.  Just go with it!  Saturday night after Endymion, we made our way down to Bourbon Street for people watching and to take a first time Mardi Graser down for their first time.  Chris was a trooper and survived it all in the same day he made the 8 hour drive down, impressive to say the least!  

Sunday was Bacchus day, so we made our way Uptown to one of my best friend/college roommate's house on the parade route where she was having a party.  We caught the Toth parade that rolled before Bacchus, acted like fools, caught up with a few other friends and enjoyed being reunited at last.
bacchus alligator float Monday, the day before Fat Tuesday, is known as Lundi Gras.  To celebrate, we made our way to the French Quarter and spent the entire evening/night on a Bourbon Street balcony throwing beads to the crowd.  If you ever wondered what the view is like up there during Mardi Gras, you can click here to watch the calm before the storm.  I think it's safe to say I've seen way too many lady parts than I'd care to see in my lifetime.  It's like they didn't even want to try to get a bead for free.  See, I'm too nice.  If they ask, I throw.  Everyone gets a bead from me! 
bourbon street during mardi grasmardi gras bourbon street balcony
mardi gras bourbon street balcony
And then the storm came, but that didn't stop 'em.  This was my "you can't rain on my parade" face.  Haaa!  See what I did there?!
mardi gras bourbon street balconyAfter Bourbon, we headed home to get some sleep and prepped for the final round:  Mardi Gras day.    Rule #1 in the "How to be a Louisianian" handbook says you have to eat Popeye's on Mardi Gras day, so we made our traditional stop to get our box of chicken and red beans, then headed to the parade.  Once the parade started, I took full advantage of my last chance to be a total bead snob and only catch the big beads.  It happened to be 30 degrees that morning, but for Louisiana that's basically negative 0.  Like true Louisiana bipolar weather, it was warmer by the middle of the day.  I guess that's the price we pay for having 70 degree temps in the middle of February, so I'll take it.  

Once the parade was over, we went home and indulged in round #3 of boiled crawfish, along with some crawfish pies and king cake.  Then it was time to pack the car and head back to Dallas.  Once we got to Dallas, it felt like I hadn't been there in months, which I guess is a good thing.  I wasn't gone very long, but it felt that way, so I think it's safe to say the time gone was very well spent!
popeyes chicken on mardi graspopeyes mardi gras float
new orleans saints floatMardi Gras 2015 was one for the books!  Until next time, New Orleans..

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