Greetings friends and Internet users. Happy almost Spring (she said hopefully) (although I know I’m no one to talk, since I live in beautiful New Orleans)!
I’m here today to talk about everyone’s favorite holiday! What, Valentine’s Day? No, not THAT piece of Hallmark trash. I am talking about everyone’s favorite rowdy, outlandish, no-holds-barred schmooze fest that I experienced for the first time this year. That’s right–Mardi Gras.
For Christians, Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday, the last “hurrah” before Ash Wednesday and Lent when they are expected to give up something they love until Easter. For most New Orleanians (and for myself, staunchly secular in her beliefs), it is approximately six days, give or take, of parades and mild debauchery. Now mind you, the debauchery part mostly stays in the French Quarter, that wildly mystical land of balconies and booze. I, however, along with my friends and most of the other college kids stick to Uptown, the area along historic St. Charles Avenue near Tulane where the parades still go, where the walk to and from isn’t too grueling, and where, oddly enough, we intermix with families and old people alike.
Mardi Gras is a pretty crazy time–people literally fight over strings of plastic (ok, not FIGHT fight. You’re more likely to get a black eye from being hit by a package of beads thrown from a passing float). And this post is not designed to be a guide to surviving the melee; those posts are far over done, and is there really such a concise list that can provide advice for what’s to come Mardi Gras weekend? No, this post is merely a glance at some notable moments in my Carnival experience this year–I am now still sick enough post-Mardi to have time to comb through my pictures. So please enjoy this scrapbook of sorts, and if you ever come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, remember to never pee in public.
- The Chicken
At a Mardi Gras parade, much more than beads are flying. There may be cups, trinkets, capes, stickers, bags–you can catch any number of things really. Here I would like to direct your attention to the jacket zipper on my friend at the right there. Yes. That is, in fact, a plastic chicken. No, not a rubber chicken, although it looks like one. It is actually, and stay with me here, a plastic model of a rubber chicken. That’s right. And my friend Henry here didn’t catch it so much as it landed in a patch of grass enclosed by a fence behind him and he dove to retrieve it. So that is a hard earned plastic model of a rubber chicken.
- The Plunger
Speaking of crazy parade finds, yes, that is a plunger. And despite my friend’s unicorn ears or my other friend’s wig that resembles a pom pom, or even my bright yellow tutu, I think it really makes the picture.
- The Selfie (of the Selfie)
Now I do not use the term “meta” lightly. But if you can make out my features in the washed out bottom left corner, you can see that I look–shall we say bemused?–at my capturing of my friend Allison taking a gung ho selfie (in the middle of my selfie). It doesn’t get more Millennial than this, folks.
- The Y
Here we have before and after pictures of an apparent “tradition” that seems to take place every year. You see, this is Loyola University, a school right next to Tulane (they practically share a campus). On our way back from the parades one night, we thought we would take a picture on the Loyola sign. Running over to the letters, we noticed some other kids flocking over as well, thinking they were following suit. As we stood on the letters, one mildly drunk boy started pulling on an O next to me. “Excuse me!” I shouted to him and his friend, who was close behind. “Sorry, you can try and steal the letters all you want, but could you take a picture of us first?” It took some prodding, but we managed to get a picture on the letters–right before most of them were stolen away in the night. Apparently Loyola reinforced them with more concrete this year, as I guess this is not the first time “LOYOLA” has become “L LA” come Friday morning of Mardi Gras weekend. They also must literally have a stash of concrete letters and a concrete guy on hand because by the next afternoon, they were Loyola once more. And I won’t tell you how Henry came to be in possession of this Y.
Okay fine…he caught it in a parade…
- The Puppy
Mardi Gras can be a rough time. There are a lot of people, there is a lot of noise, there is a drastic shortage of bathrooms, and you are never immediately near some amenity you may need. This is my friend Siena right after she fell, hitting her elbow pretty hard, scraping her knee, and ripping her leggings in the process. We got her up and were not but a few steps along when we ran into two nice young men holding the cutest puppy I’ve seen in my young life. Now by this time, Siena is having trouble keeping it together–she is in a lot of pain and we are all pretty astoundingly sleep deprived. So she asks to hold this puppy and just about loses it. You can’t really tell, but she is literally sobbing into this puppy. But I mean look how adorable it is.
So there you have it. Mardi Gras 2016. I may be suffering right now from the worst sore throat I have ever experienced, but I must say it was worth it. Probably. (Seriously I am in so much pain.) Until next year, Carnival.
Submitted with undying love for,
Mardi Gras, that puppy, Loyola University, NOLA, and getting two days off of school to watch parades,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken