<---The weekend started out with alovely tour of the Abita Brewery (with a few tasty samples, who wouldn't love it).
After the tour, we went to our lovely "hotel" to check into the room and make our way to the parades. Due to the last minute impulse trip booking, we were lucky to receive such a prime room in this past orphanage turned into a bed/breakfast-ish creepy hotel. I wish I had exterior pictures for your viewing pleasure, but imagine an old scary building with a gated (and chained in) courtyard that has a slide from the second floor to the first (as a fire escape). Then picture creepy motion sensor lights that flicker (like the ones in horror movies).
You can see a lovely shot of our cozy room here. --------->
The walls were pink, the furniture was white wicker, and there was absolutely NO heat! To say the group was close this weekend is an understatement. There was a door to the adjoining room, which was home to a group of loud drunk British dudes that I had a lovely conversation with (through the door) one morning around 3am.
After checking in to our "resort" for the weekend, we hit up a
SHELL Station and packed the cooler for the parades. The reason SHELL is in all caps is because on our excursion from Abita to New Orleans, Emily and I were riding in the trunk and I kept mentioning that we should probably stop to grab some cold snacks before fighting the traffic to find parking. This idea was mentioned several times from the trunk with no response from the driver (geeze Jason!). Eventually I gave up with subtle hints,
and just screamed SHELL! Meaning that there's a Shell station on the corner and we should buy beer now. After explanation of my outburst this
made sense and we successfully secured our needed items. On to the parades!
Katherine (having grown up in NOLA) is really on her game when it comes to Mardi Gras. She is what I would consider an expert bead snatcher, but it's really so much more than that. If there are any other special trinkets thrown to the crowd, you can rest assured that KFing will emerge from the mound victorious! Literally, if Mardi Gras was an Olympic sport, KFing would win the Gold! For an added advantage, she used Jason as a ladder and approached the floats with open arms and came away with lots of festive gear!
Between her mad skills and Emily's expertise (also growing up attending Mardi Gras festivities), all of us first timers quickly caught on to the fabulous experience of Mardi Gras! Friday night was full of parades, fun parties, and of course red beans and rice. Emily's friends were excellent hosts!
On Saturday, we enjoyed more parades and good times. Em wasn't lying when she said use the bathroom when you can. Mardi Gras is one of the most unique experiences I've ever had. It's a lot like tailgaiting with the added danger of being hit in the head with beads. Some things I learned while attending Margi Gras:
1. When Em says wear comfortable shoes...DO IT!
2. Other than the rodeo, this will be the only other time in life I stand in a 10 minute long line to use a port-a-potty!
3. Look up (at all times) and be aware. If you do not do this, you will be pelted in the head with beads or some other plastic object and it will hurt. (Or stand next to KFing because she will catch anything flying through the air within a 25 ft radius)
4. Get there early! Much like tailgating, it's crucial to get to the parade route and stake out a spot (especially if you plan to stay for a while). The people next to us used a tarp to mark their territory, but failed to fill the tarp with people (so we took over!). You can't be shy, but you must be polite.5. Parking is no fun (#1. there's tons of traffic, roads closed for parades, and one way nightmares #2. After you park, you have to walk with a full cooler) Keep it simple....cab it!
6. There are tons of people (phones don't always work)....stay with your friends...always, and enjoy!
Mardi Gras 2.0 kicks off in 4 days....can't wait!