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Posted by on Oct 2, 2009 in Bars, Event, February, Places To Go, Road Trips, southeast | 0 comments

Mardi Gras in New Orleans


Here is our finest article about Mardi Gras, but we have even more:

Every February, people around the world gather to celebrate Mardi Gras

A tradition of parades, masks, beads, dancing, and of course
drinking.  With celebrations all over the world, the headquarters for
this “holiday” is in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The week long  event
builds in size and celebration each day before ending on Fat Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday).

While a junior in college at the University of Tennessee,
a friend and I decided that we wanted to go experience this mayhem.  We
wanted to fly, and did so out of Nashville instead of Knoxville as it
was much cheaper.

Although many people book hotel rooms months, even a year in advance
for this event, we had the luxury of staying with my cousin who
attended Loyola University at the time.  Loyola, which is right across
the street from Tulane University, is located in Mid-Town also known as
The Garden District.  This area is about 15 minutes from downtown New
Orleans and is often considered much nicer and cleaner.

The Local’s Mardi Gras

As guests of my cousin, we let her call all of the shots.  The first night we arrived she
took us to parades and parties near Loyola.  All of the parades during
Mardi Gras start in Mid-Town and end downtown on Bourbon Street.  Our
first night, we watched two parades from Mid-Town (the famous street is
St. Charles).  People line up and down the street on both sides about
5-8 deep and begin collecting all the things that the floats throw
out.  At this part of town, there are fraternity gatherings with kegs
to families with children watching.  During the parades in Mid-Town, we
were able to collect a huge array of beads, specialty beads, stuffed
animals, cups, cozies, and several other collectibles.  After the
parades, we went to several college bars in this part of town.  Two of
the bars we visited were Miss Mae’s and F&M’sBoth of these bars had very cheap drinks ($1.50 liquor drinks, $1.00 beers) and stayed open ALL night.

As
a student living in the town, my cousin explained to us that people
from New Orleans don’t actually go down to Bourbon Street for Mardi
Gras – it is just too crazy and crowded.  Obviously, coming from
Tennessee we were not going to let this discourage us.  The second
night of our trip, we went down to Bourbon Street without my cousin and
Bourbon Streether
friends.  The experience was unreal.  The crowds were five times the
size as the Garden District and the streets were packed.  You could
barley catch anything from the parades unless you were front row.

The Bars

Bars and Restaurants line the street with several floors of
balconies above overlooking.  We visited Tropical Isle and got the
staple “hurricane” drink, Pat O’s (Pat O’Brien’s), and many other
overly packed bars.  The atmosphere is very wild and loud.  Everywhere
you look there are crowds of people doing something.  The type of
people you see down on Bourbon Street cover the entire spectrum; from
old to too young, from redneck to professional, and from sober to black
out drink – you WILL see it all on Bourbon Street.

My Recommendations

I must offer a few recommendations if you plan to travel to New
Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras.  First, plan early.  If you need a
hotel room or place to stay, find one the year before.  Second, expect
the get separated from your group on Bourbon Street.  The streets and
bars are so overly crowded that even with only two people, we got
separated and lost from each other several times.  Third, plan to spend
a lot of money.  Everything from food to drinks to cabs cost probably
double of what you are used to paying.  And last, allow your self to
let loose, have a good time and stay out late, cause if there is one
place where you don’t sleep, it’s New Orleans.  And I will say, I
recommend everyone experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans atleast once in
their life!

By Nathan M

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