If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Mardi Gras, it’s that there is absolutely no way to be prepared. You can pack your backpack with an extra jacket, a spare cup, some sandwiches, sunglasses. You can look up parade routes and start times. You can check the weather a hundred times. You can wear shoes you think are comfortable. And still, you’ll be missing something essential. You’ll arrive super late for a parade. You’ll get blisters. And you’ll be rained on.
Last year, I was with a group of about 10 people trying desperately to get to mid-city to watch Endymion (the most beautiful parade, in my opinion). We had called at least three different cab companies but no one was answering! Driving ourselves was out of the question because of what a nightmare parking would be. And we were running so late… 30 minutes until the parade started to roll!
We FINALLY managed to get down there and meet up with our friends. What do we find out? The parade has been postponed an hour. Ok, that gives us time to settle in, find something to eat and drink, set up our seats, and make our social rounds. That, my friends, is when it started pouring rain.
It rained for an hour. And there was no where for us to go.
There we were, soaking wet, and the parade hadn’t even started yet. The sound of cop sirens came towards us down the street, followed closely by the first gorgeous float. Endymion is special because of the way each float uses light. It’s one of the most expensive parades and really, they spare no expense. Each float is equipped with hundreds of LED lights. The throws are unparalleled. The beads are top notch. And because of the rain, the route was pretty empty! We caught so much that night.
The excitement of the parade kept us warm, but once the last float rolled past the cold set in. Still wet, we started trying to get a cab. At least a dozen rolled past us- no luck. We jokingly tried to get some of the cars going past us to pick us up. We started walking down Carrollton, away from the parade route, hoping to have better luck. Nothing. Not a single available cab.
We made it to a corner that had a Burger King and decided to cut our losses. A fast food hamburger has never tasted so good. We managed to get a hold of a friend who gave us a ride back to campus. The parade finished at 9. It was midnight by the time we all got home.
Clothes? Soaked. Stomach? Full. Shoes? Soggy. Neck? Full of beads. Backpack? Stuffed with Mardi Gras goodies. It would take a lot more than a little rain to ruin Endymion! Here’s my Mardi Gras advice for you: try to prepare, but know that even the best laid plans might unravel. Pack light, bring cash, always use the restroom before you leave your house, and bring your rain jacket. Laissez les bons temps rouler!