Monday, February 27, 2017

Mardi Gras: the real story (Pt 1 On the Road)

Part 1 of 3  

Bourbon Street In New Orleans for Mardi Gras:
NOLA Mardi Gras
Even though Richard and I rarely go to Mardi Gras any more, I have been many, many times. In fact, there were years of tears when I could not go because a child was sick or I had to work. Then there were the years of going for momma, who loved a party! Her Alzheimers had gotten to that middlin stage of knowing she had the disease but was still fighting it. One way she fought was to do everything she loved.

All that said, I thought I'd share my version of the experience with you. It's a long convoluted "story" of one day. Not one particular day, mind you, just any ordinary, Fat Tuesday parade day. We generally go to Lafayette as we know the city well, and it feels safer than the crowds of New Orleans (NOLA).

Gear up--clothing. You'll get up and prepare your gear for the day. That, of course, depends greatly on the weather. On cold days with a slight wind, you will not have enough clothes and warm socks. Plus, you'll feel compelled to share half of your clothing with a half-dressed child.  On hot days when there's a slight wind, you will swelter in February and get a serious sun/wind burn. It's Louisiana.

Supplies. You'll also need to drag a lawn chair, umbrella (for sun or rain), bottled water, all the kids in your family and a minimum of two extra kids whose parents are laughing it up at work. Bring any drugs that may possibly cure the following: headache; upset stomach; sprains, bruises, and cuts; nausea; migraines. Also bring hand sanitizer. It helps to put a few drops of bleach in the bottle and stir. Some cooties are tough customers.

Additionally, bring the following: snacks for all the kids; money for food because kids don't like to picnic so much; and money for trinkets because although people will throw free trinkets from the floats, you will pay for other trinkets; and totes or trash bags to put a ton of worthless trinkets in, so you can haul it home to throw away when the kids finally go back to school. 

Mardi Gras ladders set up for a parade: Options. Some people bring ladders to sit on so they can be above the crowd. This gives them the advantage of being seen and catching throws. We don't do the ladder thing. We do generally have a wagon to pull the ice chest and anything else that can be piled on: chairs, blankets, etc. After everything comes out of the wagon, the kids can stand in it to give them a step up in the crowd. Decorate it like this? No. We're happy if all the wheels make it through the day.

Miniature Model Mardigras Float:

Set up. Arrive early to get "a good spot," meaning find a place big enough for your entourage and your stuff. Set up by opening all the chairs and forming a semi-circle behind the police barricade. Someone must volunteer to watch the spot and smaller kids so others can walk around. Be that person. Those walking around generally have an hour or so before the parade begins to spend money, listen to music, enjoy the scene, and spend money. 

Mardi Gras Tablescapes and Decor with Free Printables and DIY Tutorials:

Be Safe! Have everyone find a partner even if they stay in groups so no one gets lost. Every child must be partnered with an adult. Insist everyone stay on the parade route. Share phone numbers with the extra kids. (Don't be the guy who loses someone else's kid. That's difficult to explain.)

Image result for mardi gras
NOLA addendum. None of this is possible in New Orleans. Your group should hang out together behind the police barricade. Even so, people will push your group into a small circle that consists of half the space that your feet need. This means the odd-looking drunk guy with the size 15 steel-toe boots will be next to you. Keep the children in front of you, near the barricade to protect them from the weirdos and steel-toe boots. If you're the nervous type who can't handle crowds, prepare to count your people every 23 seconds. Occasionally look at faces and make sure you're counting the right people. Seriously.

Image result for mardi gras children

Part 1 of 3     Part 2 is here  and Part 3 is here

No comments: