After seeing Mobile’s version of Mardi Gras we were pretty excited to see how Mobile’s parade differed from New Orlean’s parade that is so well known for being quite ridiculous. We left Mississippi that morning in good weather and high spirits for what the day was going to bring us.
A friend of ours lives in the Uptown part of New Orleans so we were able to stay with her for a few days. Thankfully that meant there was free parking and we were close to a streetcar line. New Orleans has an above ground system that’s sort of like a subway. It’s only $1.25 for one trip or you can get a day-pass for $3. Not bad! We took our first street car down to Canal Street where the French Quarter starts.
The French Quarter was PACKED due to the anticipation of “Krewe Du Vieux”, the parade that was to roll through the French Quarter that evening. It was still early, so we killed some time by visiting the New Orleans Historic Voo Doo Museum. Neither of us knew much about the subject and for a $5 entrance fee we figured we could learn a bit about the Voo Doo culture. It wasn’t a very large museum, but very interesting and a bit creepy. After we grabbed some food at Cafe Maspero to try some Gumbo and Poboy sandwiches.
After dinner we made our way to Bourbon Street to meet up with our friends. It was every bit of debauchery that we had expected of it. So, since we were trying to save money we brought our own liquor and sat down on the curb to make our own drinks. It was insane! So many drunk, topless, cross-dressing people all there for the insanity. After meeting up with our friends we made our way through the French Quarter to find a spot to watch the very political and adult-oriented parade. (Take that as a warning in continuing to read!)
With the election, naturally the parade was made to poke (lots of) fun at our president elect. Being in the south you could tell some of the crowd wasn’t happy with their theme of choice but the other half of the crowd loved it! It was a riot reading all the signs on the floats and watching them go by. They went as far as modeling Trump as Humpty-Dumpty sitting on top of a wall. After the parade we all dropped into Cafe Du Monde to try some beignets and grab some water.
The next day we visited Mardi Gras World to check out the warehouse where all of the floats are made. It was a very informative tour about the creative process the krewes and the artists go through to get ready for the next years parades. The city of New Orleans apparently has absolutely nothing to do with the financial aspect of the parades members of the krewes have dues they must pay to be a part of the float, and then on top of that spend an additional amount (anywhere between hundreds and thousands of dollars) on items for their throws.
On top of being responsible for all of the decorations on the floats, this warehouse also creates several props for places like Disney, Universal and even the cows for Chick-Fil-A’s billboards. The floats traditionally are made out of styrofoam or cardboard but for more permanent props they use fiberglass. It was awesome being able to walk around the warehouse to see how many different themes they’ve had in the past and what was being finished up for next week’s Fat Tuesday!
After the tour we drove down to check out the Saint Louis Cemeteries, unfortunately cemetery number 1 was closed. Number 1 is where Marie Laveau, the Voo Doo Queen, is buried. We checked out cemetery number 2 though, and it was pretty cool. Just not quite as historic. Afterwards we met up with our friend for some dinner where we had bottomless mimosas and I tried vegan cheese for the first time.
The next morning we took the streetcar down to the French Quarter one last time to grab a souvenir and some lunch, Elliot let me try a bit of his crawfish and he tried pig’s foot. Afterwards we went on an airboat ride to see some more alligators. Unfortunately there weren’t too many out because it was a cool and cloudy day, but we got to hold a baby alligator that is to be released back in the wild later this week.
Right now we’re on our way through the rest of Louisiana to go camping near Galveston, Texas tonight. Then tomorrow we’ll check out the Galveston beach area. We’re excited to finally be nearing Texas! This should get interesting!