Yesterday marked my 10th Mardi Gras in a row. Somehow, my liver has survived all 10. I have to say that there’s nothing like a Mardi Gras celebration. It’s more than about Fat Tuesday, and I’m proud to know the ins and out of Mardi Gras — from Uptown to Downtown to the French Quarter.
In honor of my 10-year Mardi Gras anniversary, I’m sharing my Mardi Gras knowledge — from Alcohol to Zulu.
Alcohol — You better have a bottle, cup or can in your hand during the parades and celebrations.
Beads — You’ll see people going crazy for a set of plastic beads on a string. And you’ll think to yourself, “Why am I doing this for plastic?” But you’ll do it over and over again and love it. $10 says if you don’t recycle them, they end up sitting in your attic for years to come.
Costumes — New Orleanians love their costumes and are some of the most creative people when it comes down to play dress-up.
Doubloons — Going crazy for these little coins is slightly better than spazzing out for some beads. Why? These are metal.
Endymion — My favorite parade and the Extravaganza in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is a party you don’t want to miss. Even if it is black tie tailgating.
Fat Tuesday — The day when the weeks of celebrating come to a head. Only 356 days to go until next Fat Tuesday.
Geaux Cups — Yes, you can ask for a to-geaux cup for your adult beverage. It may not feel right to out-of-towners to take a drink outside, but it’s highly encouraged in New Orleans.
Hurricanes — The drinks Pat O’s is known for. Just be careful, this syrupy concoctions come with a ton of rum. However, you can’t visit it without having one.
Ice — You can never have too much ice during Mardi Gras. Whether you’re along the parade route or swinging by a friend’s place, bring some ice. It’s like Mardi Gras diamonds it’s so valuable.
Jambalaya — Because you gotta eat. This Louisiana staple can be found at countless Mardi Gras parties throughout New Orleans.
Krewes — These are the organizations who make up all the parades we’ve come to love. Starting with Krewe du Vieux and ending with Rex.
Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler — French for “Let the good times roll.” And that’s exactly we what we do during Carnival season.
Muses — Bedazzled and glittered shoes are the prized throw from this all-female krewe.
Neutral Ground — Aka the driver’s side of the parades. If you aren’t on the neutral ground, you’re sidewalk side (passenger side). I’m a neutral ground fan.
Orpheus — One of the superkrewes. Orpheus rolls on Lundi Gras (the night before Mardi Gras) and features a ton of floats. My favorite being the train.
Parades — Most of the festivities revolve around the parades. Some are better than others, but they’re all fun.
The Quarter — There’s no better place to be on Mardi Gras day. From the costumes, to the strong drinks to the revelry, it all happens in the French Quarter.
Religious Protesters — Every year they waste their time and money to try and tell us Mardi Gras revelers how sinful we are. They’re annoying and need to go home. We don’t bring Mardi Gras to the aisles of your church, don’t bring church to the streets during Mardi Gras. 90% of the people on the street on Fat Tuesday will be in church the next day, Ash Wednesday.
Saint Augustine — Odds are you’ll see this high school marching band in the majority of the parades. This purple and gold band know how to get down during the parades.
Throw Me Something Mister — You’ll hear this yelled every minute a parade is rolling. It’s the best way to get the beads, cups or doubloons you have your eyes on.
Uptown — In my opinion, the best place to watch the parades. The setting is more picturesque and the atmosphere is more of what Mardi Gras really is.
Voodoo — Not the religion, but the strong “purple drink” from Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Feels like it’s worth every sip when you’re out drinking, but kicks your ass the next day. Beware.
Walking — You’re going to do a lot of it. Cabs are hard to come by, the streetcar doesn’t run downtown (during parades) and you don’t want to risk a traffic gridlock because of parades. Wear comfortable shoes!
X-Ray Vision — Odds are you won’t need it if you’re in the right place (or the wrong place). Enough said…
Y’at — The question you’ll be asked most frequently during Mardi Gras. Translated, it simply means “Where are you?
Zulu — The most fun you’ll have at a parade. Be advised they don’t throw much if you’re watching on Canal so get to a side street to catch that coconut you’ve been wanting.
Like these photos? Be sure and check out MiguelSolorzano.com for a lot more pics from this year’s Mardi Gras.