have you ever wondered what it's like to spend
mardi gras in new orleans? well .... we're here
to tell you all about what this crazy party is like!
one little fun fact :: we accidentally booked a trip
to new orleans months ago without realizing we
would be visiting at the absolute craziest time!
i knew mardi gras was in february, but a few months
ago we looked at the calendar and saw the long
holiday weekend that we planned to visit friends
in texas, and decided to tack new orleans on just
for fun! it was later while planning our trip that
i quickly realized we had **accidentally** planned
this spontaneous visit right over mardi gras..the
BIGGEST event of the entire year there. at first
i thought about canceling this part of the trip,
because i was worried that the craziness of mardi
gras would taint my first experience of new orleans..
but then i realized -- though it may have been
accidental, it was a pretty good excuse to experience
a once-in-a-lifetime event in a fun city! we decided to
go for it, and we are so glad we did. we got to see
new orleans in its prime ... and it was magic!
leaving friends in houston --> and taking a short 40 minute
flight right into the madness of mardi gras! we got there
on sunday afternoon and our taxi driver couldn't
even drop us close to our hotel because the streets
were shut down for endless parades all through
the city. we could not quite believe our eyes. i've
never seen anything overtake a city like this does..
but in a positive way! it feels like every local is out
enjoying the festivities with all the tourists.
(and remember, this was still sunday ... a few
days away from fat tuesday but already a party!)
each float & parade gets more ornate and crazy as
they go. we learned all about the mardi gras krewes
which are like big clubs that people are part of and
they put on the floats and parades. that's why there
are multiple MAJOR parades per day leading up to
tuesday, because they are all sponsoring their own!
locals know each krewe and can pick out all the floats.
we pushed through the craziness with our luggage
in tow, and finally made it to our hotel right in the
french quarter. it was quite the experience trying to
cross parade routes and push through more people
than i've ever seen in my life, but after some waiting,
being smashed between people, being separated, almost
losing our bags, and yelling to a cop that i needed to get
across the parade to where my husband was, we did it! :)
one thing to note about hotels in new orleans --
around mardi gras, security tightens up to keep
people from stumbling into lobbies and sleeping
there or packing into rooms. so, when we checked in
a security guard had our names on a list as guests, and
we had to wear wristbands all weekend so that when
we came back the hotel knew we were real guests.
no one else is allowed into the hotel if you're not staying!
as it became night-time we got our energy up to go explore
and join the giant party! we walked all throughout the
french quarter, down to café du monde for our first of
many beignet stops, and then along the famed bourbon st.
i was loving this city so much already that i hoped crazy
bourbon street wouldn't be a bad experience. although
it was insane, i actually thought it was really fun and lively
instead of feeling dangerous or disgusting! i was happily
surprised that even during the mardi gras celebrations, you
could walk down bourbon and just see lots of happy, lively,
(a bit tipsy :) people. of course if you are looking for it you
can find some raunchy things, but you can also find some
great things all around! i loved all the people PACKED onto
the balconies throwing beads all over the place, the jazz
music pumping through the soles of our feet on the streets,
and the atmosphere of one big fun, vibrant, wild party.
chase caught so many beads (and saved a few from
hitting me in the face i'm sure..) and then he'd put
them all around my neck. i thought people only got beads
if they did bad things, haha but no -- beads are plentiful
and they are EVERYWHERE! on trees, on the streets,
flying through the air, on fences, & on everyone.
glitter and confetti and beads on the streets, EVERYWHERE
we took a little detour to see jackson square at night ^^
and a break to eat at acme oyster house, a new orleans classic
with very classic dishes of gumbo, jambalaya, red beans &
rice and grilled smoked sausage. a taste of everything!
we had the best first experience here getting late-night
famous beignets and soaking in the atmosphere. sitting
down on the crowded patio of this famous café and
eating warm beignets and laughing and taking in the
atmosphere was one of those moments that it's just
good to be alive. i loved being there with chase.
^^ and that is saying a lot!
each night there was more madness and more parades!
we chatted with some cops who told us that louisiana
sends hundreds of extra cops down to new orleans for
a few weeks during mardi gras to keep it all under control.
no wonder it feels so safe!
the krewe of bacchus has this giant alligator float each year
that people throw beads into as it passes by, so you can
see the mouth is full of them! chase loved chucking them - ha
it feels like everything is always open around the quarter
during mardi gras, so we had every excuse to keep eating
and enjoying and dancing and wandering around! i told
chase - "we are young & in love and we can stay up all night!"
but around 2 am i was the one dragging him home to sleep because i was the tired one. i'm all talk and need my sleep!
^^ madness in the street after the parades late late at night..
it looks like the world has ended ... how do they clean that?
and somehow each morning, the streets are sparkling clean,
the city is quiet, and all is fresh again...until the next night!
* we did hear that they use a lemony scent in the street cleaner during mardi gras,
so in the morning the streets literally have a fresh lemon scent :)
lastly - you can't forget to try a famous king cake
to celebrate mardi gras with here! so yummy. ^^
thanks for having us at your big fancy party, new orleans!
you charmed us, delighted us, made us laugh, made us
blush, and made us dizzy and tired. we will never
forget this experience and can't wait to return!