So people always ask me, “Tom, if you don’t drink then WHAT do you do on Mardi Gras?” Well the short answer is, “put on a costume and walk around”.
You see for the locals, Mardi Gras is a time of great celebration with family and friends. And costumes are an enormous part of that celebration. Inevitably early on Mardi Gras morning, either Gayle or I will be walking down the street in the French Quarter to get coffee and we’ll pass a few police officers on a corner. They’ll look at us and one will say “NOW it’s beginning to look like Mardi Gras”.
Bourbon Street. Beads. Boobs. Drunken college kids. That’s 10 blocks in a city of half a million people. Royal St, Chartres St, Decatur and Frenchman. That’s where our party is and a huge part is just walking up and down the street, having your picture taken, talking to folks you know, stopping to sit with friends, listen to music and watch other costumers.
Oh yeah, and eat. Red beans and rice, gumbo, shrimp etouffe, fried gator, po boys, beignets, Mardi Gras Pasta at Pere Antoinnes on the corner of Royal and St. Anne …. then comes lunch.
It is the worlds largest …and friendliest …block party and everyone is having a great time doing nothing much but have a great day.
And one thing we used to do with our son when he was younger was sit on the McRaneys stoop on Royal St and keep track of license plates from other states. I still do it and send the map to Seamus every year to let him know I’m thinking of him. Here is this years map. The numbers on the right are the daily legend, beginning on the Thursday before Fat Tuesday. This year we saw plates from 41 states and Wash DC as well as 4 Candian provinces and 3 Mexican states. The record is 44 states in 2005, which was the year of Seamus’ 16th birthday (he got to ride Tucks) and Hurricane Katrina.
So a few strolling pictures are below and more are on Flickr to the right.
As we like to say, “everywhere else in the world, it’s just Tuesday”.