Mardi (and Lombardi) Gras

Sorry for the lack of posts. But it was, after all Mardi Gras.

Now, for those of you who haven’t experienced New Orleans Mardi Gras, it’s really not what most people think it is. It’s not a girls gone wild photo shoot. Those shenanigans are virtually all tourists on Bourbon Street.

For the locals, Mardi Gras is a season of parades and public consumption. Picture your local park for the Fourth of July: Tons of people, showing up early, vying for a good spot to watch from.  Now, combine that with Spring Break trips to the beach, where everyone has coolers. There are no laws against open containers or public consumption, so everyone is drinking and heavily lubricated.

People are dressed in crazy outfits, and then the parades roll by. The floats throw beads – mostly plastic, mostly ordinary. Some Krewes customize their beads with their name on them. There’s other highly-sought trinkets like beer cozies, spears (which are good for hooking beads), doubloons, and the famous Zulu Coconut.

We started Tuesday with the Lombardi Gras parade. I use that phrase because it was no “Championship Parade” like other cities have. This was a Mardi Gras parade for the New Orleans Saints. They should have called themselves the Krewe of Champions. Lombardi Gras is the prefect phrase for it. And Drew Brees is the ultimate bead thrower, with pin-point accuracy.

That parade might have been the best, because while the throws were very, very mediocre, the intensity of the crowd and the joy of the players had everyone going completely insane.

On Friday, we headed to the parade route on St. Charles (at Felicity) using our friend Heather’s prime real estate four blocks away as a base camp. We rolled her faithful cooler Charley behind us and found a spot and hang out.

Saturday, after watching a horrible Manchester City tie with Stoke at our football pub, we headed to a friends place in Mid-City for the Endyimon parade. Our pre-game at Rob’s house was very good, but the scene at Mid-City was obnoxious. People were salty because they’d been sitting out since 10 a.m. for a 5 p.m. parade. They had stretched out a massive tarp for a few people, and the crowd was walking on it. I image those people have the same Mardi Gras experience every year.

Sunday featured four more parades, back on Felicity and St. Charles, and that was probably the most enjoyable of the week. The weather was much better than Friday and Saturday, and the Uptown people were more pleasant to be around than Saturday’s crowd. We made all kinds of friends and enjoyed the company of a naïve first-timer visiting from the Bronx. He was highly entertaining and his wide-eyed wonderment for it all made us all realize what a unique experience it is.

All that standing in the cold for three days had worn us out, so Monday (Lundi Gras) we made a change of pace and decided to sleep in then hang out at restaurants and bars in the evening. This decision was aided by the fact that Heather was out of commission for Monday’s activities.

After dinner and drinks, we hit up a Magazine Street bar. The music was great sing-a-long songs from the late 90s, early 2000s, and the TVs were showing the Olympics. Which caused Justin and I to break out the Figure Skating Drinking Game:

  1. Social when they go into long spins.
  2. Sip when they grab their skate.
  3. Chug for five seconds when a skater stumbles.
  4. Finish your drink if they fall on their ass.
  5. Drink when you see an emotionless Asian (they kept showing stoic people from the Far East. It was uncanny. This rule quickly transferred from the TV to the bar, and Tuesday’s parade route. It might be the thing I’m most proud of in my life).

Other people in the bar caught on to what we were doing because so many people fell in whatever round/competition that was.

We wrapped up the party and went home at 1 a.m., agreeing to meet for the Zulu and Rex parades at 7 a.m.  The pre-sun portion of the day was pretty miserable, and some of us were drunk from the night before, and we lost a second member of our krewe (who had to drive home).  Around noon, I was beginning to have romantic day dreams about greasy breakfast meats.  My compatriots had reached their limits mid-way through the 10th parade of the week for us, so we tapped out to go watch the USA hockey game in the Olympics. Then home to nap.

There was some really funny moments, and a plethora of good times. But since I can’t recall specific dates and details of these incidents, we’ll save those for another time.

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One Response to Mardi (and Lombardi) Gras

  1. Tito says:

    An interesting story on the SI.com site here about some network that seems to be screwing up the Olympics inasmuch as it was screwing up some late-night talk shows. I expect commentary.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/michael_rosenberg/02/18/olympic.tv/index.html?eref=sihp

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