If I gave you three clues…bourbon, beads, and crowds, what would your guess be? Mardi Gras, maybe? Yep, it’s that time again in New Orleans. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced Mardi Gras, but it is like no other celebration anywhere. It is a week-long excuse to eat, drink, and be merry (did I mention drink?) There are hoards of people in the streets, some barely dressed, and others in outlandish costumes. There are girls and boys hanging from balconies above your head, tossing strings of beads at you. There is music playing in all directions, Jazz to be specific…and dancing, lots and lots of dancing.
Now, you might think I’m describing Wonderland, but actually the place we’re at is…Bourbon Street. Mardi Gras has been a New Orleans tradition since the first red beans-n-rice, and Bourbon Street is the heart of the party.
This year’s celebration was met with colder than usual temperatures. You might think this would keep some folks inside…think again. New Orleans residents were on too much of a high to let a little bad weather spoil the fun. They came out in droves, joined by party-goers from around the world.
The traditional bands marched and parades passed by, but nothing could take away from the excitement that the Saints were welcomed home with The New Orleans Saints left the city, a football team, and returned…royalty. Drew Breees and company couldn’t have orchestrated a bigger, more elaborate “welcome home” than this.
2010 marks the 173rd annual Mardi Gras celebration. With all the turmoil Louisiana has experienced in recent years, it’s wonderful to see this tradition alive and thriving. If you’ve never had the pleasure of participating in Mardi Gras, put it on your to-do list, it’s well worth it. The only advise I can offer, on a personal note is…leave your purse at home.