Mardi Gras in Nawlins!

Voodoo drinks – famous in Nawlins
The hardest part of trying to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras was finding a place to stay.  With it being the busiest time of the year for this city, hotel prices skyrocket to ridiculous amounts. So this was the time to check out the brand new craze of Air BnB where we got an entire house in the Algeirs disctrict for half the price of a hotel room ($400) for an entire weekend! Albeit, it was on the other side of the river but we got to ride the ferry over to the French Quarter which only added to being tourists in New Orleans. 
The French Quarter is an adult’s playground during this time of year! People were throwing beaded necklaces from the balcony, with a bit of flashing and nudity, but mostly a jolly good time of day drinking (since there is no ‘last call’ or cut off to serving alcohol and its legal to drink in public/outdoors), parades and people in a wonderfully festive mood.  This is an experience every adult needs to have at least once in their life!

We had three days to explore the city. Our first day we were blessed with beautiful spring weather and riding the ferry across into the heart of the city was enjoyable with the breeze and the views. On our walk towards the French Quarter we saw a few parade floats and crowds and crowds of people. The parades were also being telecasted live on television. The parades (known as krewes) have various themes related to Mardi Gras and New Orleans history. It can be a bit overwhelming as to which parade to attend but they happen for days before Mardi Gras leading up until the day itself. 
The French Quarter is easy to spot with the street party of drunken people in good spirits and a lot of homeless people, hoping for a dollar. I guess if you’re homeless the best bet is to hang out during this time, with a creative sign, where drunk tourists are happy to donate to your cause and chuckle at your sign. Hey, it worked for me!  

We met up with some couch surfers and free hug givers and walked the streets with our Grenades and Fishbowl drinks in hand until late into the night. I was so excited to return the next day, but the weather let us down.

Bourbon Street in the French Quarter
on the streets of the French Quarter with Grenades (the drink)

Our second day the weather decided to flop on us; it was windy and cloudy, with low temperatures so we layered up and headed back to the French Quarter. On the way this time we stopped at a street market where I got my face painted and got to admire some local artists at work. 
Then we went to watch some jazz since we were in the city that was known for it. There are live jazz performances every day of the year, all day long, so finding a venue with good artists is easy. After a lunch time meal with some great live music (and poor service which seems to be common due to the holiday) we ventured back into the French Quarter for more shenanigans. Although the weather was cooler the festivities did not stop; people were bundled up and still hanging out in high spirits. The best part of this day was hitting up an oyster restaurant at the end of the night. Until this night I had never been a fan of oysters but the various ways that oysters are made in New Orleans really changes anyone’s taste. These were the best oysters I ever had, my favourite being the BBQ oysters. Although quite an expensive meal, it was the perfect end to Mardi Gras’ eve.

Our final day was actual Mardi Gras but after 2 
whole days of drinking and the raining pouring down on this Tuesday, we decided it was a good day to stay in and catch the parades on TV, while feasting on gumbo and jambalaya (creole food) while nursing our hangovers.  Food on the whole is expensive in this city, probably because it is a tourist attraction all through the year plus Cajun/creole food is what the south is known for so it is a bit of a delicacy in North America. I’m grateful I finally got to visit New Orleans for this wonderful annual tradition, however better weather would have made it a better experience, although the excellent company I was in definitely made up for it!


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