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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Mardi Gras!


I've just been to Mardi Gras and it was a really incredible experience that I'd definitely recommend. It is just as fun and crazy as everyone says which I was so pleased about; I was a bit worried it might be overrated but that wasn't the case at all and I really loved the whole thing.


New Orleans is a beautiful place but if I went again I would definitely go during Mardi Gras. New Orleans didn't seem like the safest place, especially in the French quarter, but Mardi Gras made it feel a lot safer. I don't think you need to be worried if you have booked to go outside this time, just make sure you get ubers at night rather than walking around. We met a few locals who kept warning us about walking about at night even during Mardi-Gras so I think like with most places you just have to be careful.


I arrived on Monday afternoon and met my best friend (who was flying in from San Francisco) within minutes after her plane was delayed and mine was early. I was so happy it worked out like that, otherwise she would have been waiting for me for a couple of hours and I was feeling guilty about her having to wait. I love when things unexpectedly work out like that.

We chose to come on Monday because the more family friendly parades are over the weekend and we wanted to really experience the nightlife. We stayed at India House hostel- about a 20 minute walk out of the French Quarter because the hotels during Mardi Gras were stupidly expensive. Genuinely it was over $100 a night for a hostel in the french quarter (in a shared dorm) while our hostel was $90 for the week.

As soon as we got into the town we headed out to hydrate with cocktails. Both of us like to drink what the locals drink so we had the authentic Hurricane cocktails: two shots dark rum, a shot of lemon juice and a shot of passionfruit syrup served over crushed ice. You can walk around with alcohol in New Orleans which was good fun because we could take cocktails with us while we wandered around the city to catch the parade.

Giant floats, the size of double deckers drove past. Some of them even had moving parts like this lady who kept raising and lowering her magnifying glass.


The floats were full of people throwing out beads (beadmasters) for the crowds to catch. It was such a fun atmosphere and everyone was having a great time. Music was playing and it was just a massive party in the streets.



My favourite parade was the Krewe of Orpheus. The floats were so much bigger and ornate than I expected with some even having double layers. After a slow start to catching beads we ended up being helped by some guys that really fancied my friend and so we had so meany beads roudn our necks that the next day we were really achy haha.


We watched the parade and explored around the streets, cocktails in hand watching all the different floats. The crowds were big but only around 4 or 5 people deep at each barrier so we had no problems seeing anything. Both of us are pretty small but it was fine because the parade is so spread around the city that you can get quite close to everything.

We staggered back in the early hours but forced ourselves up early the next day for the main event - Fat Tuesday.


This did not disappoint! First we saw the Krewe of Zulu which was great but had less floats so I didn't get many pictures. The next parade was the best - The Krewe of Rex. It was amazing. They had giant floats with moving heads, flapping wings and even a bull that snorted streams of smoke from his nostrils. The sun was shining and everyone was so excited to be there. My photos can't do the trip justice at all but believe me, you absolutely want to add this to your bucket list.



I loved this day of the dead Mexican float. They also had Russian themed floats, woodland inspired ones, basically anything you can think of - they had it and it was executed on a massive scale.



They threw out pottery beads from some floats which I brought home as keepsakes.





After the parade it became a giant day long party in the city. We headed to an absinthe bar next to St Louis Cathedral and ended up partying with locals, eating Oysters and drinking New Orleans dry. People were wearing incredible costumes and we even bumped into someone on stilts and full costume in the bar fresh from the parade.



We stayed out well into the next morning before stumbling back to recover for more sightseeing the next day. All in all it was an incredible experience. Don't miss my next post - what to do in New Orleans and what to wear to Mardi Gras.

Until next time,

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