Saturday, February 18, 2012

New Orleans and Mardi Gras

Leaving Pensacola, we traveled to Gulfport, MS, where we spent the night in the parking lot of Island View Casino.  It is so sad to travel along Hwy 90 between Biloxi and Pass Christian.  The area still has so many signs of devastation from Hurricane Katrina, and the old homes can never be replaced.  But the next morning we were on our way again to Fountainbleu State Park, on the north shore of Lake Ponchatrain.  Just across the 24 mile bridge is New Orleans on the south side of the lake.  Tom V. had never been to New Orleans before, so we headed down to the French Quarter so he could see it before the craziness of Mardi Gras next week.

Even the market dresses up for Mardi Gras

You can find musicians, mimes, magicians and street acts going on all through the quarter.  Notice the man in the air.  He jumped over the group of people by tumbling.

Had to take Tom to Cafe Du Monde for beignets (pronouced been-yeh) and coffee.

This is typical of most bars and restaurants in the area.  Large doors open to the public with tables outside as well as inside.

But what set this place apart from others was this help wanted sign.  

We walked up to Pat O'Briens for dinner.  This is their famous flaming fountain inside the courtyard.

As the sun sets it gets more crowded on Bourbon Street.

This is me with another parade watcher showing off the hats we caught.  They throw more than just beads I found out.  This is my first Mardi Gras and it has a rich tradition going back to the 1700s.  Originally started in Mobile, it gained its notoriety in the 1880s here in New Orleans.  But I did not know the parades do not go through the French Quarter.  The parades start on Feb. 4, and go until Fat Tuesday, which is the day before lent starts.  Towns all throughout Louisiana and along the gulf coast celebrate Mardi Gras.  As it gets closer to Fat Tuesday, there are more and more parades, sometimes 3 in one evening.  We only stayed for the first of 3 parades this night.

Each parade has a theme and is put on by a Krewe.  The floats all represent the theme in some fashion.

Friday evening in Mandeville, on the north shore of the lake, the Krewe of Orpheous was putting on the parade. 

The floats are all beautiful, heavily decorated and they throw everything from beads, to stuffed animals, to cups, frisbees, and even hats.

After the parade we came back to the campground and had a fire.
Saturday is forecast for rain all day and as I sit here posting this blog, it is raining outside and the campground has large puddles of water standing everywhere.  But the rain is supposed to stop tonight and clear out, so more parades tomorrow.  

1 comment:

Ernest Winters said...

Very good! I felt like I was there with you. The pictures really capture what is really there and thought that you did a great job! Thank you for this!