As January is coming to a close and Austin is already seeming like it is courting Springtime, I’m starting to get the pangs of FOMO as I think back on one of the rowdiest and adventurous experiences I’ve had – Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
I didn’t expect to fall as hard and fast for this city, but between Mardi Gras 2015 (a surprise romantic getaway from my super hot hubby) and the Buku Music Festival (with my bestie Maria), I found myself within city limits TWICE in 30 days. I now understand why a friend of mine would make the 8 hour jaunt to NOLA every other weekend. Is it voodoo? Who knows, but all I know is I’ve got the New Orleans fever.
Mardi Gras 2015
Even though the weather was verging on freezing – along with the sheets of rain that came with it – it was Mardi Gras that started the obsession. We’re lucky enough to know a NOLA native that was able to guide us through which parades to catch and when.
If there was anything I learned – it was that the local’s Mardi Gras is not all about the boobs and opulence found on Bourbon Street. It was all about camping out St. Charles with EZ Ups, a grill, plenty of booze, and a rental port-o-potty. Yes. A loo. An outhouse. My savior. Instead of paying an ungodly amount of money to surrounding hotels to stand in line (and miss the parades) to use their toilet, you can have your own – complete with lock and combination. Shitting becomes humanity’s new currency. You would be surprised what you can charge people to use it.
But I was enlightened to a few other things as well:
- It is mofo-ing COLD during this time of year, I have no clue how people show their boobs.
- You don’t actually need to show your boobs to get things. Local parades throw beads, animal plushies, underwear, and MOONPIES (which are some of my favorite things in the world). Moonpies are some of the most coveted items.
- People go crazy for the coconuts thrown during the Zulu parade.
- People go crazy for the un-torn bags the beads come in.
- People go crazy.
- Don’t expect to ever get a taxi or that public transportation is ever running during this period of time. Get used to walking miles. Invest in shoes. And a raincoat.
And even through the chaos, it is definitely worth going at least once. Here are some of my favorite moments as we spent a week in the city that really pushed my partying limits.
View outside our window here in New Orleans. A little gloomy but 65F today! #NOLA #MardiGras A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
These textures are captivating! I’m having a series of eye-gasms. #NOLA #MardiGras A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
Carousel bar at Hotel Monteleone. The bar goes in a circle. So drink up and your vertigo won’t drive you nuts! #NOLA #MardiGras A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
A little goofy in the cold rain. Nothing is going to stand in the way of #MardiGras! #NOLA A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
36 degrees and everyone is still in good spirits! #NOLA #MardiGras #NewOrleans A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
#latergram – hidden, quaint alley cafes are waiting for you to find them in #NewOrleans. Make sure to order a cafe au lait – the coffee and milk concoction that will blow your mind (and a side of beignets). #NOLA #MardiGras #coffee #life #travel #lifestyle #find A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
Not all parts of #MardiGras are glamorous- the sheer amount of trash is disturbing, regardless of the fact that they have trash plows and sweepers that go through the streets at night. I was even told by a local that they judge the success of a Mardi Gras by the tonnage of garbage. #NOLA #NewOrleans #travel #tourism
#latergram – Cold rain kept the crowds away as we meandered through the French Quarter during #MardiGras. The architecture is simply magical. I can only dream to own a beautiful piece of property like these and I’m glad to see people continuing to come back after Katrina to rebuild. This is a strong community and it shows with their hometown pride. #travel #tourism #architecture #urban #building #like #moody #instalove #instamood #instagood A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
Yeah… This is so pretty! At the Frenchmen Art Market and holy hell I want to bring everything home. #NOLA #travel #love #life #art A photo posted by Erica Kuschel (@overyonderlust) on
Even as someone who loves to take pictures, there is no way to capture the warmth, the texture, the music floating through the air, and the grittiness you find in NOLA.