After living in the states for around six weeks, it was that time in the calendar year to attend the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Kelly had made it a point that we would venture over and spend a weekend immersing ourselves in the festivities to show me the true American way and the blues of New Orleans. Now to be honest, I was expecting something completely different to the American style of Mardi Gras, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Now for those of you who haven’t caught on, I am from Sydney, Australia and the Mardi Gras here each year is a little bit different. It’s more of a gay and lesbian pride march. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against people who choose to live their lives this way, it just wasn’t what I was expecting to see when we got to New Orleans. More on this later!
So we packed the car in Tallahassee and braced ourselves for a long and straight drive. As we arrived into New Orleans it was interesting to observe through the window of the car the character of this place. To me I felt like it had such a rustic and cool hip vibe that expressed a history with its fair share of ups and downs.
We pulled up to Kelly’s friend’s quaint and modern apartment in the suburbs, freshened up and went straight out to see what New Orleans had to offer. After a short taxi ride and a history lesson, we had arrived on the infamous Bourbon Street. My god, I was ready for a big night. We hit up all the famous spots and sipped away our thirst with ‘big ass beers’, grenades from some bar called Tropical Isle. Dinner was served at an exquisite restaurant where we ate Cajun food and ordered Jumbo and fried gator. It was delicious!
After filling our bellies we were off again down Bourbon Street, partaking in the bead throwing, competing with one and other for who could collect the most beads. At one point I think I was picking them out of the gutter and acting like someone on the balcony had thrown these to me. The highlight of my night would have ben stripping down to my undies for some beads from a women who was pushing 70.
After receiving the beads, we thought it would be time to head on up and throw beads to those down in the street. There is something satisfying about having people beg you to throw them these plastic beads. Absolute madness. The night didn’t end so well with some sneaky bugger stealing Kelly’s wallet and car keys. The next morning we spent getting a tow truck, new key cut and then made it out on the town trying to figure out how Kelly would get into the bars with no ID.
We dedicated the next day to the actual parades of Mardi Gras and on the walk in I was surprised by the amount of people. In my head I was thinking, “Wow everyone is getting behind this gay and lesbian pride march. That’s so awesome.” To my surprise the parade started off quite tame with children playing music, singing, dancing and throwing beads to the crowds. Hours passed and I found myself thinking, “When were the lady boys going to make an appearance?”
Late in the night I confessed my innocence to Kelly and told her this was so different to our Mardi Gras. It all started to make sense to me. It’s a big blues festival where marching bands play music whilst parading about the streets of New Orleans. I learnt my lesson and will not be making that mistake again.
All in all the Mardi Gras in New Orleans was outstanding as we had such an awesome time roaming the streets with a beverage in hand making the most of our time there. We became cautious of our surroundings after that, and Bourbon Street definitely left its mark on us. It will be something I will always remember.
Until next time… Bourbon Street and Mr. Naked Cowboy.