This weekend, one of my favorite cities on planet Earth turns into the debauchery capitol of the world. In fact, I think it always holds that title. New Orleans is like Vegas, but with a Southern-Cajun-French mash-up culture that’s been named Creole. The only rule, as far as I know, is don’t pee on the streets or mess with the police horses, and you’re golden. Excessive drinking, flashing, and even puking, usually seem to looked over and often cheered on. I’ve spent many-a-days in New Orleans, and a few of those days fell over Mardi Gras 2009 & 2010.
New Orleans, Louisiana has SO much to offer: the cuisine, the people, the historic buildings, the jazz, the bars, the drinks, the list goes on… but during Mardi Gras, it mostly boils down to the partying and the drinks. If you’re lucky enough to get a seat at a famous restaurant, then yay team. However, the great news is you can grub on Muffalettas, Po-Boys, and Beignets all over the city, not just in the French Quarter.
[Editor's Note: Most of these pictures are from the 2009 trip because I lost my camera the second I walked on Bourbon Street in 2010. It was waterproof and shockproof, unfortunately not idiot proof though.]
Day one will be spent exploring the city and getting your bearings.
You’ll check out the souvenir and sex shops, whilst giggling uncontrollably. You’ll purchase oversized beers and realize how dumb it is because it is warm and disgusting 2/3 through finishing. You’ll walk by the aquarium and decide that you just HAVE to go in. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll walk over the the river and see the massive freight ships and reflect upon how much water must have been there during the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. The night comes and you figure you better see what Bourbon Street is all about. Enjoy it. The next days you will yearn for the day you could walk around without clinging tightly to your best friends. You won’t drink too much because you know you need your energy and healthy liver for the coming days.
Day two is the big day.
You will attend your first parade and hundreds of thousands of others who are day drinking. You gather as many beads, t-shirts, bags, and other random souvenirs as possible while you get jealous of all the children and their million items. You then remind yourself that you are not a child, and it’s better to pass some of these items along to them. As night falls, you make your way to Bourbon Street and are sure to try the famous Pat O’s Hurricanes and Hand Grenades from Tropical Isle. They cost at least $8 each, but they’re delicious and get the job done. You party with packs of strangers. You openly drop your jaw in disbelief at the sorts of people roaming around. You see a young man chugging a hand grenade while his friends cheer him on. He throws up. And then continues chugging. And this is not even the most disgusting thing you’ll see. But it’s all in the Mardi Gras fun (ok, no), but really, it’s 90% a street filled with happy people just looking for a good time. And good times are had.
Day three you wake up mid-afternoon and realize you have a 6 hour drive back to Houston.
You don’t know how you’re going to make it there. Luckily you have the support of friends who feel just as terrible as you do. You grab some greasy New Orleans grub on the way out and spend the entire car ride laughing at photos, recounting all the memories, and making plans for next year..
Have you ever celebrated Mardi Gras?