5 days of insanity, scarce sleep, microwavable burritos and beads, beads galore. Mardi is love, mardi is lyfe.
This entire experience reminded me a lot of the insanity and filth and fun that is Coachella, except 5 times the craziness, chaos, excitement and necessity to truly BOOT AND RALLY (often times literally at The Boot). I don’t think I can epitomize the beauty of New Orleans Festival season with words, but any excuse to try and compose a memory of this blur of a 5 days would be ideal in the long-run when I’m looking back and wondering what the heck happened during my first Mardi Gras. You make friends, you try new things, you dance, you wear sparkly bras and leggings (that eventually become your resident hall’s communal leggings) and you have yosef a grand ol’ gras.
Some random realizations I’ve come to make after experiencing Mardi Gras are
- If you at a parade in a spot with the locals there will be a lot of little kids around and their parents will put them on their shoulders and those little devils will literally ALWAYS get the goodies handed out by the peeps on the floats. It’s so unfair because the people from the floats don’t know who got what from the last floats so they just see these goddam little babies jumping about on shoulders and they hand them all the cool cups and coconuts and stuffed animals and leave you feelin’ salty af because you deserve dat more than a 3 year old obviously.
- There are lots of parades and they be LONGUE (french), so you don’t gotsta rush to get to them. What I loved so much about experiencing Mardi Gras as a Tulane student is that we not only have the ability to enjoy Mardi like the locals by peroozin’ around at the parades or on any good street in the city, but we’ve got entire itineraries compiled of frat parties and block parties: so many events and parties there ain’t enough time of day to even explain to somebody all of the options!!!
- Mardi is marathon. It is NOT easy to rally for 5 days straight in cute apparel and glitter but me n my gals did it. Oh we did it. You can’t go too hard too quickly, “you gotta take it easy”– Eagles
- Faux fur and funky colored coats are #1 go to for mardi. First off they are funky fresh and fire and absolutely adorable and secondly they keep you perfectly warm during the night time when the NOLA air chills and you are scurrying about on Broadway with your baes trying to get to Fiji or the K Squid Mansion. Unfortunately you come back to your dorm room and realize you have acquired all the lovely ripe stenches of mardi and its maidens with you on your faux (anything from American Spirit to B.O. to yesterday’s Mimosa) but hay that’s what one trip to the dry cleaners is for #amiright?
- Fanny pack lyfe tho. There probably wasn’t one gal there that didn’t have an American Apparel/Amazon/Fiji Gras pack buckled around their shiny leggings and crop tops. It is the ONLY way to go.
- Getting to and from parade spots in a UHAUL with four bodies piled on top of you from every which direction is not always very comfortable on the rollercoaster-like roads of New Orleans. But hay, you gotta do what you gotta do
- the poor pair of shoes you decide to wear should be sneakers cuz 1. they is comfy 2. you can wash em
My favorite day was Monday, the day everyone attempts to stay up until the sunrise, the TEQUILA SUNRISE as they call it. Them yung SAE boys were whippin up eggs and bacon for everybody in their basement at 3 in the mornin’ on Monday so we could munch and take a break from dancing to “Shout” for the 50th time as we fought to keep our eyelids open and our feet still shufflin’ about. S/o to those SAE boys because their party “Kegs n’ Eggs” was one of my favorite parts of Mardi (it’s hard to beat a party with scrambled eggs, sriracha and throwbacks from The Killers)
Another highlight of Monday night/Tuesday morning was screaming the lyrics to some Red Hot Chili Peppers in the Boot whilst dancing within a floor range of approximately 2 inches of space. I have never seen the Boot so jam-packed as it was that night; apparently everybody wanted to get their groove on at the Boot to celebrate the start of Fat Tuesday. I don’t blame em because that DJ was straight FIRE. Dancing with friends to a song you love is a feeling of joy that just NEVER gets old.
My favorite parades were Krewe of Muses on Thursday (during which I sported pink attire bc I thought girl power WOO but then found out the parade is themed blue but yolo). I was really hoping that I would catch a shoe (People decorate, paint, bedazzle any shoe they want and donate them to the floats for the parade and the shoes get handed out to those lucky peeps who got the attention of the float-goers at a good time) but it’s aight. I was particularly hoping to get a cute kitten heel or something that I could use as chic décor in my dorm room but it’s okay because it’s motivation to get one next year. But I WAS lucky enough to get a COCONUT at the Zulu parade on Mardi Gras day. Because I am such a boss ass lady I not only stayed up and partied until Tequila Sunrise but I gathered my last bits of energy, grabbed a coffee and crepe to go and dragged my friend Ava downtown with me to enjoy the Zulu Parade. I really enjoyed Zulu because it was the first parade I spent not at a frat tent, thus I really got to experience the “family” aspect of mardi gras. Just me, Ava and some awesome locals standing around relaxin’ and vibin’ reaching our hands out hoping to be graced with a glittery coconut to take home and boast. I also really enjoyed the Bacchus parade, except for when I got wacked in the face with a good chunk of beads and got a bloody nose. But yolo at least I didn’t get my goddam skull cracked like some poor fella last year who supposedly got wacked with a coconut. All the coconuts they toss now are hollow inside because these parades ain’t got no time for a lawsuit; they too busy mardi pardyin’.
I spent a good chunk of Mardi Gras with all of my Sharp 7 gals who are ALWAYS a good time and some of my sophomore friends like Danielle my Kappa Big and favorite person ever and Lara ( who is in PiPhi and will be chillin’ with me at that yung Digital Media Lab for the next 3 ½ years since we are both Digital Media Production majors) and Gabby my Kappa twin. Me n’ my Kappa fam (who I did not know would become my fam at the time) has so much fun praisin’ all the kids in high school bands who were trottin’ on by on the streets in parades. The best is when you shout out a compliment to one of them and they are trying their best to remain serious and focused on their act but they can’t hide a little grimace/smile cuz they are probably thinking about how much of a crazy freak you are for shouting at random children.
Here are sum fun photos from this crazy crazy experience:
Fun in a uhaul?
Veronica I see you workin’ it on dat UHAUL
Overall, I can confidently say that those 5 (ish) days were some of my favorites that I’ve lived so far. It’s so beautiful to think that for this brief period of time, the entire city of New Orleans was finding some unique way to celebrate and enjoy life. Only in this city is it normal to dance with strangers in tutus on the street and call passerby’s “baby” and “sugar” without hesitation or question. At one point in time I was completely alone and in search of my friends, but I felt no fear because I was walking amongst a bunch of fun-loving New Orleanians, which means smiles all down the street and groovin’, dancin’ feet, and how can you not love that?