What an awesome weekend ticking off another of my bucket list items … Mardi Gras in Louisiana!!! My host mum here has family down that way and the chance to go down to join in came up and we decided to go. They live in Shreveport which is at the top of Louisiana so it wasn’t the true Mardi Gras in New Orleans but im not sure anyone would want to take their kids to that one haha.
It was a 14 hour drive down to we stopped half way for the first night at a hotel before continuing down the next day. It was great to be finally out of the sub-zero temperatures in Chicago and back into some shorts!! The kids Grandmother has been involved in the parade for years with the Crewe of Centaur so we mainly went down to watch her and get a behind the scenes look at the parade. On the friday night they have something called a bead loading party where the public are invited to go down to the headquarters of the group running the parade and catch a few beads and collect specialty beads which have a pendant of sorts relating to each float. The idea is to collect as many as you can and trade around to get them all. Each float only has a limited number so your pretty lucky if you get more than a few. We spent a couple of hours there meeting lots of people and checking out all the floats before tomorrow parade.
The next day we did some shopping for masks and Mardi Gras outfits before making our way down to a friend’s house who was on the route of the parade. It was crazy how many people where there lining the streets and setting up cooking stations and coolers to sit the day out waiting for the evening. There were 40 floats in the parade although not all were throwing out beads and they had some bands and dancing groups so it took a good hour and a half to go past. The theme of the parade was Fables, Folklore and Fairy Tales so there was everything from Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan to Vikings and Jesters … all the floats were awesome!! The idea during the parade was pretty much the same as the day before … you stood down on the road as they went past and danced and shouted to get the people on to the float to pick you out and throw you some beads or a toy or anything else they had. Then you would load yourself up around your neck or back in the main bag and go again haha. We came away with rather a lot and had some trouble dragging it back to the car a mile away but it was worth it
I’d love to do another Mardi Gras and get down in to New Orleans at some point but the whole trip was great to be able to share with the kids and see another part of the country. Louisiana was really nice and actually felt like England in places … I am sooooo going back!!