Mardi Gras New Orleans

Where do you go to find America’s number one party! Any ideas? 


I may not be qualified to weigh in on this one as:
A) I am not American and
B) I haven’t been to every party in the USA

But I am going there anyway. My vote for USA number one party goes to Mardi Gras!  For the past 5 years, I have trekked halfway across the globe just to have five insanely, crazy, ludicrously fun days in New Orleans. 

What is it about Mardi Gras that keeps me coming back?  uumm EVERYTHING!   There is always a feeling in the air, an expectation… At any moment something awesome could happen – you just need to be ready for it! 

New Orleans is a gorgeous, fun-loving city with a beautiful soul.  Add a million or so elaborately dressed festival-goers of all ages, celebrating, laughing and expressing themselves through music, art, and dance and you have something special on your hands.

I love me a costume, so Mardi Gras is my Nirvana.  For months before I am planning and putting together costumes – one for each day of the carnival. No, I don’t travel light to this event.  Last year my bag was searched at customs as I entered the US and the officer raised an eyebrow at the contents – one whole suitcase is dedicated to feather boas, faux fur, corsets, tutus, all host of blingy things and wigs.  Speaking of wigs, each year I head to my mecca in Nola, Fifi Mahonys wig shop.  There is always a fabulous creation that buy and proudly strut around the French Quarter showing it off!

For me, Greasing of the Poles signals the start of Mardi Gras Carnival.  This slippery tradition has its origins as a deterrent to revelers from shimming up the many poles of homeowners and hoteliers in the French Quarter.  For nearly 50 years the Royal Sonesta Hotel has taken it to a whole other level.  Local female celebrities give it there all, while atop a ladder, applying slippery stuff to the balcony supports.  They are vying for the converted honour of the People’s Choice award – what this award is for is still a mystery to me; application technique? Best-covered pole? Highest point covered? Best dressed?  Whatever – it is a great tradition and a load of fun!

Bourbon Street Madness

During Mardi Gras I am rarely on Bourbon Street – it is complete madness.  I prefer to perch myself on an awesome balcony, spending time watching the crowds go by, tossing beads to the worthy, enjoying cocktails, catching up with other balcony party regulars, the occasional dash out to see a parade or dance in the street.  A Bourbon Street Balcony party is where it is at!

Ok so the parades are everywhere.  The first year I ran myself ragged trying to get to them all.  Don’t!  Pick a few and just enjoy them.  The larger Krewes draw the big crowds and are a load of fun for grabbing a heap of favours (beads, stuffed toys, a glittery shoe etc).   Some of the smaller walking parades get you up close and personal with the action.  My Rock stars; Marching bands and dance troupes!  Love the 610 Stompers and the Pussyfooters dance troupe!  Always on point and giving it everything they got.

There is so much more than beads and boobs at Mardi Gras. What started as a once in a lifetime bucket list adventure has turned into true love – I just can’t get enough of it.  All the pretty words aside – It is just that freaking awesome, you need to go yourself and experience this one. 

Hot Tips

  1. Mardi Gras Insider Tours – let these guys take care of the running around, so you just turn up and have a great time!  All-inclusive packages include; Deluxe Balcony Parties, Grandstand Tickets for big parades, welcome party, local tours, beads, goodie bags, accommodation and anything else that you might want. 
  2. Keep track of parades, where they are rolling and when.  Best way is with a parade tracker app – my favorite: http://mardigrasparadetracker.com/
  3. Be costume ready – more is never enough at Mardi Gras.  If in doubt, add more bling.
  4. Shoes – Comfort is king.  It might not finish off the costume but you are on your feet all day and walk everywhere so opt for comfort
  5. Beads are currency at Mardi Gras – spend wisely.  Bigger is always better!
  6. Keep your cool – there are masses of people so you just have to be patient and wait for pretty much everything. Don’t be the dick that loses their cool while waiting at the bar for a drink, everyone is waiting.  Chat to the people around you – make some new friends – way better than standing they’re getting pissed at the world.

 

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