Cityblog: New Orleans & The Mardi Gras Experience

This will most likely be my last cityblog for awhile (I'm sure I've said that several times) as I think I'd like to discuss a bit more racial, class and political ideologies that have been weighing heavy on my mind as of late.

Anyways, with the current holiday of Mardi Gras, I feel that it is only right I discuss the craziness that is Mardi Gras.  Sadly, I don't have much to say on New Orleans because I have only been there during Mardi Gras, but it is tough little city. The home of the Magnolia Projects, twerking, Ponchatrain Bridge, Lil' Wayne, Juvenile, and overall suburban city is filled with odd fluctuations in class levels and a vivid mixture of cultures. As such, I have seen the variety of bacchanal delights two times, which is not something a West Coast or East Coast kid ever really thinks about seeing.

The first time I went to Mardi Gras, would be my first year in Houston in which I would roll with my roommates and one of their girlfriends to a friend's house in Uptown New Orleans right near Tulane University. We wore bright colors and would meet up at Mr. B's fancy restaurant with one of our old roommates for a chill time.  Though the weather was good, this would not be the year that people would get flash crazy and instead people just constantly threw us beads.  We would also get beads rained on us, which was rough considering how dirty and heavy they were (Yes all that plastic becomes very heavy).  Also, the men at Mardi Gras are beyond thirsty considering how they will flock to any unattended woman that is around the streets which is why I always say - safety in numbers for Mardi Gras.  I tried to meet up with some of my friends Matt, Bryan and Madeline but it wasn't meant to be as one of our friend's friends kept sidetracking by being a bead zombie -beads, beads, beads.  We would continue with the Cat's Meow, searching daiquiris, O'Brien's with its Jumbalaya, and eventually ending with Gumby and bad pizza. Note: many bars/clubs in New Orleans require cover and Mardi Gras on a whole can be sketchy especially on the ever crowded Bourbon Street.  We stayed for awhile, but eventually went home with a cab even though the bars are 24/7 in NOLA.
                  The next day we would experience the craziness of the parades with more beads, college greek life, parents sniping beads for their children on their ladders (look at the pictures on Facebook as this is hard to describe), CP3 Mardi Gras jerseys, March themed floats and school marching bands, and nonexistent bathrooms.  A thing about bathrooms during Mardi Gras, you will be surprised how much you have to go (I guess Frozen Daquiris, Hurricanes, and Grenades will do that to you) and also surprised on the weird regulations.  First of all, in public you will get arrested and you will get a ticket; second since you have to pay a cover to get in places or even pay to get into a bathroom; this becomes strange, as some places require you to buy a drink to use the bathroom. Overall, we had a wild time ending with a tram ride to an amazing grill spot where lots of people spoke Creole and somehow knew our orders.

The second time I went to Mardi Gras would be the year after in which we would stay in hotels in Metarie thanks to Nikki's mom.  Before we got there, we flew by Baton Rogue and also got to see a little bit of Lafayette thanks to Jasmine and her family's hospitality.  The weather at this time was a little worse (including mini hurricanes/tornados); however, if you ask me the debauchery was crazier.  While we would not see the parades this time, we spent more time on Bourbon Street than last time which led to dancing in some clubs, the Cat's Meow and O'Brien's, missing Nikhil mysteriously for about an hour, protesting a religious march down the street, more beads, and a whole lot more flashing regardless of the rain.  There were a lot of friends in attendance that night which we saw randomly (people from USC even!) and some even ended up on the rooftop balconies throwing beads - note it costs to get up there unless you're a pretty lady.  Much of the time we spent early on consisting of finding food i.e. Po-boys, fancy cheeses, and some other decent places.  Even though, I was the only one who had gone to Mardi Gras before, I didn't have much say in the affair as we found ourselves amongst a Will Farrell traffic jam as he threw beads, bathrooms with strange writing, an establishment of adult entertainment (rack city), and just people wallowing in the rain or the bulldozers scooping beads at 5am. Thus, we again had a wild time which is documented in Mardi Gras photos.

After the back to back Mardi Gras travel, I would keep my beads the entire time I was in the South (they decorated the Atlanta apartment and Houston home). I truly wish I could have seen more of New Orleans as its class differences in a predominantly suburban environment grab me as does Cafe du Monde & Frenchman St. I'll return again someday, but I have no idea when.  In the meantime, be on the lookout for me to soon use this blog as pulpit.