Growing up in New Orleans, I’ve been doing the Mardi Gras thing my whole life. King cakes in homeroom every Friday during the season, people in beads roaming the streets, really bad traffic, and not seeing my dad, who is a police officer, for about two weeks because he has to work his normal shift and then the parades.
My family lived on the parade route, so just looking out of our living room window we could see everything. I got the best Mardi Gras experience out of anyone because I didn’t have to go anywhere, I could go inside to get food or use the restroom, and there was no need for me to wait out in the cold for the parade to come. I would walk outside when the first float got to our corner and go back inside after the last float. The parades came to me, it seemed like a pretty sweet deal to me but as I got older I grew out of the whole thing. I didn’t even go outside and I might look out the window to what the floats looked like, but that was the extent of it.
When Mardi Gras season rolled around last year and I saw how excited everyone from out of state was for their first Mardi Gras experience and it just made me chuckle. All of my new Loyola friends were so excited to stand out and wait for the parades and they appreciated everything about the experience, which seemed so simple to me. In a sense, I had taken Mardi Gras for granted, it’s something that is so unique to New Orleans and it should definitely be cherished. Being from here it is just one of things you don’t fully appreciate because it means constant traffic, streets being shut down, and really the only perk is a few days off of work or school.
However, getting to experience out of state people experience Mardi Gras made it something special again. It truly reminded me how great my city is and how lucky I have been to grow up here in the rich culture and now that is my favorite part of Mardi Gras.
What is your favorite part of Mardi Gras?