I woke up early this morning, put on an old prom dress and some eye makeup, tossed my tiara in my bike bag, and headed out to see what New Orleans was doing on a Mardi Gras day. I rode up to St. Charles and took a left and happily swerved between the kids throwing their footballs in the streets and parents pushing strollers and people drinking and dancing and laughing while waiting for the last parade of the season. I was stopped by the crowds at Jackson where Zulu was making its turn onto the avenue, so I locked up my bike and threw my hands up in the air like I’ve been doing almost every day for the last two weeks. After a bit I got back on the bike and headed up to LaSalle to see if I could get closer. I caught some beads that matched my outfit, so took the bike up to Claiborne, which was eerily quiet like any part of the city that isn’t hosting a parade or a gathering on Mardi Gras day. Floats were lined up for blocks getting ready to roll, and bands were stretched out on Broad Street for at least a mile, tapping their toes, ready to go. I headed back the other way and caught the last few floats as they turned onto the Zulu route, and then the adventure of biking around the parades to get to the Quarter began. I pedaled this way and that through Central City, past barbecues set up on neutral grounds, houses and cars blasting bounce, and cars searching for that fantasy parking place that would cost less than 20 bucks. I finally made it around the downtown crowds, locked up the bike, and took a walk through the Marigny to check out the costumes and cheer on the St. Ann parade. I ran into a bazillion people I knew, had a drink from D.’s bandolier (thank you, coconut rum, for giving my insides a suntan), danced in the streets (thank you, band from Rhode Island, for holding it down), and engaged in general revelry with friends, who all brought out just the right food at just the right time. I took this picture as S. and I crossed into the Quarter because I just loved watching those ribbons in the wind today, and I’m so grateful to live in a place where people think hey, you know what would be cool? Some tubing, a hula hoop, and some ribbon. Indeed, indeed, that would be cool. I rode back home via Mid-City and Broadmoor on empty streets. It’s time to pull the curtain down on another Mardi Gras. Thank you, everyone. It was wonderful.
As interesting as your narration was I am more curious about the background for the ribbons. The shuttered building, protection against the revelers? And the stilt walker, the painted face adds much to the effect.
We’re coming out for Jazz Fest in May & the little apartment we rented near Jackson Square has 2 bikes! Would you recommend we ride them up to Jazz Fest, or would that be crazy? What about locking them safely during the festival?
Our daughter lives in Uptown & rides, too, so she might have a suggestion.
Love your blog. Just sent it to our daughter.
Hi, Jan! Riding your bike to Jazz Fest is most assuredly a great idea–they even set up bike parking. And aren’t you a lucky duck, getting to come to town for the Fest. I hope you carve out a little extra time to ride your bikes around. See you in the streets!
Hey dahlin’, how’s ya momennem? You can take the boy outta New Awlins, but you can’t take her outta the boy. Boy do I miss her! Great Post, made me homesick. You might be interested in my latest posting, “Mardi Gras – A Local’s View” at http://contemporarymusings.wordpress.com