Mardi Gras - 2/2013

Statistics:

Dates: February 7-12, 2013;  6 parades, 3 cities

 

Areas Explored: Mississippi River, SE Louisiana

Transportation: 2009 Grand Caravan

New Frontiers: Our 4th trip to Mardi Gras (in a row); fAnastasia's first time

Cast: Scott, Jessica, Andrew, and Anastasia

Parades: Baton Rouge Southdowns; Spanish Town New Orleans Okeanos; Mid-City; Thoth Metairie Napoleon

 

Trip Notes: Day 1: Drove overnight to Baton Rouge, just making it in time for Southdowns. Day 2: Enjoyed Spanish Town in downtown Baton Rouge, under sunny skies for a change.. Day 3: Rain held off so we could enjoy the marathon of Sunday morning parades in Nola's Uptown before heading to quiet Metairie for Napoleon. Day 4: Left Baton rouge under threat of showers, ending day in Tunica. Day 5: Spent a few hours at the St. Louis Zoo and then headed home.

 

Click to see last year's Mardi Gras 2012!

 

(Left) Only uniformed people think Mardi Gras is too risqu for kids. In fact, everyone is a kid at Mardi Gras. Here they are enjoying the sights of the parades in BR and Nola. 


See and hear Louisiana Mardi Gras '13!
 
 
A rider on a Thoth float. This Nola parade is a marathon. (right)


Vendredi Gras in Baton Rouge

Southdowns
After our 1000 mile trek south, we usually get to Baton Rouge just in time for this small, but energetic truck parade in the Southdowns neighborhood.
 

Samedi Gras in Baton Rouge 

Spanish Town
A laid back yet raucous truck parade with krewes made up of mostly local bars. The parade takes a stab at political satire fitting for the state capital. While some of the jokes are raunchy, they usually fly over the kids' heads. The route ends in the historic Spanish Town neighborhood, which keeps the party going all night.

 

Dimanche Gras in NoLa & Metairie 


Okeanos
Okeanos is a very democratic krewe, created in 1949. They are well known for their elaborate ball. They roll some very creative floats every year with recurring characters and lots of music.

Mid-City
Mid-City always rolls very beautiful foil covered floats. Its members are always dressed in formal wear and, although this parade is short, it is quite a spectacle.

Thoth
This krewe is large and energetic, especially in comparison to the other krewes that roll the same day. They have fans from all over thanks to their charity work. They parade by hospitals to bring the Mardi Gras to the infirm. We have seen them for years now and every year we have to watch our heads because it rains beads when they roll by.

Napoleon 
This Metairie krewe lights up the night with their floats. They honor Louisiana's French heritage. It is a family friendly affair, compared to the chaos that erupts a few miles south in Nola at night.
Welcome to New Orleans, where we could track the parade via an app on our phones.Welcome to New Orleans, where we could track the parade via an app on our phones. A big fan wearing a dubloon-encrusted vest.A big fan wearing a dubloon-encrusted vest. Every high school within a 1000 miles marches with the musical Okeanos krewe.Every high school within a 1000 miles marches with the musical Okeanos krewe. In fact, music was the theme of this years' Okeanos parade.In fact, music was the theme of this years' Okeanos parade. The strangest float in Okeanos dedicated to and carrying  some local Nola musical celebrity.The strangest float in Okeanos dedicated to and carrying some local Nola musical celebrity. Throwing a baubel for the crowd.Throwing a baubel for the crowd. A half-drunk brass band following the Okeanos parade.A half-drunk brass band following the Okeanos parade. Showing off the booty from Okeanos. We got up close thanks to the generosity of locals.Showing off the booty from Okeanos. We got up close thanks to the generosity of locals. Mid-City is always escorted by these traditional Nola equestrian Mid-City is always escorted by these traditional Nola equestrian "chiefs." The Mid-City parade is a formal, old-fashioned affair. Here is the king.The Mid-City parade is a formal, old-fashioned affair. Here is the king. The floats of Mid-City are decorated with shiny, colorful foil.The floats of Mid-City are decorated with shiny, colorful foil. The Mid-City gator of death: a work of art, not just a float.The Mid-City gator of death: a work of art, not just a float. The crowd calling for baubels from Mid-City riders.The crowd calling for baubels from Mid-City riders. A brass band to set the mood on St. Charles.A brass band to set the mood on St. Charles. Death is coming for everyone and time is running out so remember YOLO.Death is coming for everyone and time is running out so remember YOLO. A pile of skulls to remind parade goers of their impending deaths.A pile of skulls to remind parade goers of their impending deaths. Andrew doesn't care. He's all about the Mid-City chips he caught.Andrew doesn't care. He's all about the Mid-City chips he caught. The irony is beautiful... The irony is beautiful... After Mid-City it was time for a snack and to sit a spell. Crowds build for Thoth.After Mid-City it was time for a snack and to sit a spell. Crowds build for Thoth. The Thoth parade theme: The Thoth parade theme: "Thoth salutes the kings." The king of Thoth ushers in his huge, formerly sober krewe.The king of Thoth ushers in his huge, formerly sober krewe. The Thoth riders are very generous with their baubels and usually sim for hard to throw-to placesThe Thoth riders are very generous with their baubels and usually sim for hard to throw-to places A huge double decker Thoth float.A huge double decker Thoth float. The zombie King of Pop makes his way down St. Charles Avenue.The zombie King of Pop makes his way down St. Charles Avenue. "You want some beads or something?" Thoth's tribute to Chicago's king of crime.Thoth's tribute to Chicago's king of crime. Thoth riders consider launching the wares to the people on the rooftops.Thoth riders consider launching the wares to the people on the rooftops. How about a little wink to jingositic nationalism?How about a little wink to jingositic nationalism? The queen of Thoth greets the crowds as her maids throw piles of dubloons into the street.The queen of Thoth greets the crowds as her maids throw piles of dubloons into the street. Looking east toward Canal Street.Looking east toward Canal Street. Later that night we enjoyed the relaxing suburban Napoleon parade.Later that night we enjoyed the relaxing suburban Napoleon parade.
 

Lundi & Mardi Gras on Highway 61
We hoped to enjoy the Zulu party on Lundi Gras, but terrible rain showers forced us north for Lundi Gras. We took US-61 to Natchez and then northeast along the Natchez Trace, staying in Tunica, MS. The next morning we were able to get to the St. Louis Zoo in time to enjoy a couple hours before heading back into wintry Chicago.   


Photos copyright 2013 by S. Plencner or J. Bezold All other content copyright 2013 by S. Plencner