Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Do Whatcha Wanna

{This post would best be enjoyed while listening to this indelible ditty. Press play!}
Do Whatcha Wanna by Rebirth Brass Band on Grooveshark

We experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans last week. It was magic.

Our friends, Brandon and Tara, picked us up from the airport and we headed straight to our first parade. They have a friend that lives on a parade route. We sat on the sidewalk just beyond the beautiful stoop of his shotgun house and waved at the floats that were close enough to touch.

Eddy caught on immediately and embraced every single thing that was thrown at him, pointing out all of his stuffed animals' eyeballs ("aye-bow!").

I said it was magic, right? Tim and I just kept looking at each other and smiling. It was the Mardi Gras that dreams are made of.

We came away from this parade with four (FOUR) reusable grocery sacks of beads, cups, and toys that we shoved into the Bob along with a cooler. On the way back to the car, we bounced and laughed and I exclaimed that if no other parade worked out that I would be okay. My Mardi Gras cup runneth over.

Eddy fell asleep at 5:30 that night and was out until 8:00 the next morning. We had beignets for breakfast, took a drizzly day nap, and then made our way out for our second night.

The kids have these ladder rigs with seats on top for the very best view.

Night two was amazing in a whole different way. We watched two evening parades and all of the floats were illuminated.

My favorite part of this parade - and Eddy's - was that there was a marching band in between just about every float. Eddy loved the baton girls with their sparkly outfits. Uh oh. And apparently "Cold-hearted Snake" by Paula Abdul is huge with marching bands right now. We heard it more than once. (Where do I know that song from? Oh yeah... I wore that cassette out in the 80s.)

It was chilly and gray, a few rain drops hit our heads, and not a single person cared. Again, magic.

When we started out for the parade earlier in the day, I declared definitively that we needed no more float stuff. But I don't know what happened. As soon as they start creeping by, people in masks with their hands full of beads that say, "You know you want it!", and everyone's hands go up in the air, something just takes over. Eddy came away with a few toys that light up ("Ooon!") and we left the rest of the beads behind.

And then Harry Connick Jr's float came up and stalled right in front of us and I did that thing - that thing that people in a crowd do when the president walks by - where I held my baby up just so that he'd look our way. And it worked! He turned to his daughter beside him and said, "Hey, look at the baby!" Oh yeah.

On our last day, Tuesday, we made it to 2 more parades in the morning. Just about everyone in New Orleans has the day off so the number of spectators tripled as lawyers and bankers stood shoulder to shoulder with teachers and students. It was packed. And still, everyone was happy.

Magic. All of it. New Orleans has always been one of our favorite cities but this was beyond. I'm not exaggerating when I say that every person in the city was in the spirit. Mardi Gras is not Bourbon Street and boobs. It is a city-wide celebration full of music and food and costumes. Just like I love wishing people Happy New Year, people everywhere wish each other Happy Mardi Gras.

I was so happy I could've cried. I hope that we get to go back again and again. And I hope that it is still magic.

Thank you, Brandon and Tara, for always welcoming us and giving us a cozy place to rest our bones. And thank you, New Orleans, for letting us do what we wanna. It felt so good.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post & wonderful pictures! My husband and I both grew up in Louisiana. When we move back to the states, a big trip to NOLA is in order. Would love to take them to Mardi Gras and do that properly too. =) Thank you for sharing and glad y'all had so much fun!


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