After Mardi Gras

Our youngest son, Mark Joseph, is working at a small design firm in New Orleans as a co-op this semester. Just in time for Mardi Gras, the Superbowl, and the Jazz Festival. Last weekend we visited him after Mardi Gras.

But I had heard the stories and always wondered what it would be like to be in New Orleans for Carnivale. It was nice having our own private foreign correspondent covering the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans while we watched from a safe distance and in the comfort of our own home miles away.

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Mark Joseph is barely visible exiting the house where he lives in New Orleans

In New Orleans, the Mardi Gras celebrations begin at least a month in advance of Fat Tuesday with weekend parades that ratchet up to daily parades as the big day approaches. The parades are a big deal there and organizations and “crews” start preparing for next year’s event before the debris from this year’s has been swept away.

As the parades wind through downtown, the French Quarter, uptown, and the suburbs, streets are lined with revelers anxious to catch beaded necklaces or other items thrown from the people on the floats and in the parades.

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Zulu parade through New Orleans – February 12, 2013 – courtesy of Mark Joseph Grote

The Zulu (social aid and pleasure club) parade is one of the most popular.

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“Of all the throws to rain down from the many floats in the parades during carnival, the Zulu coconut or “Golden Nugget” is the most sought after. The earliest reference to the coconut appears to be about 1910 when the coconuts were given from the floats in their natural “hairy” state. Some years later there is a reference to Lloyd Lucus, “the sign painter,” scraping and painting the coconuts. This, in all likelihood, was the forerunner to the beautifully decorated coconuts we see today,” (http://www.kreweofzulu.com/history).

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Mark Joseph was thrilled to catch one of Zulu’s coconuts. These are the prizes of parade-goers.

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Photo courtesy of Mark Joseph Grote

Another very popular parade is the Muses parade where they throw decorated shoes out to the crowd. Technically, Mark Joseph didn’t actually “catch” this shoe, proving once again it is all about who you know. When we visited Mark Joseph this past weekend, we enjoyed having dinner with the creator of this shoe who told us she has already begun work on next year’s shoes.

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Photo courtesy of Mark Joseph Grote

I didn’t catch the name of this parade, but felt it deserved notice. I’m not sure what, if anything, these guys were throwing to the crowd. Remote controllers perhaps?

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Photo courtesy of Mark Joseph Grote

All this revelry and throwing of things does lead to something of a mess after the parade passes by, but we have it on the best authority, that in a manner similar to the autumn leaves of Camelot, the bits of paper are whisked away at night.

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Some beads, however, are left dangling from tree limbs,

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whether accidentally

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or intentionally thrown there.

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Sometimes there’s simply no denying the intentionality of the bead decorations around poles,

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or on gates.

They add to the effect of other left-over decortations that brighten the houses, doorways, and balconies of New Orleans after Mardi Gras.

See more posts about New Orleans.

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15 thoughts on “After Mardi Gras”

  1. These photos are fabulous! I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, so it’s really cool to see Mark Joseph’s pics, Christine! But I’m confused… you said you had dinner with the shoe creator? But you said you were in the comfort of your home… or did she visit you? I’m so confused! Anyway, nice pics!

    1. Thanks for pointing that out, Julia. I tried to clear things up in the post. We visited Mark Joseph this past weekend, after Mardi Gras, and had dinner then with the shoe creator, who happens to be the mother of one of our son’s friends and co-workers.

  2. I didn’t know how tall some of the floats are and those poor trees catch the beads as they are raining down from on high. This would never be tolerated at Harvest Home.

    1. Really? I thought people tossed them up there. Maybe a little of both. It’s a wild and crazy event. Joe watched it from the sidewalk in front of a corner bar where he was certain his thirst wouldn’t get out of control, and necessary facilities were close at hand. All important considerations.

  3. I LOVED the recliners!!! So much fun! New Orleans is on my list of places to go—one of the few places I really want to go that I haven’t been to yet but I will get there. Until then I will enjoy your fabulous photos!

    1. I thought that looked like fun. New Orleans was on my list too. I can check that one off. The WWII museum there is a must-see. I’ve probably got two or three more posts about New Orleans to write.

  4. Proving once again, it’s all about who you know…hilarious, Christine. I’ve never got there for Madi Gras, but someday!
    P.S. Being married for as long as you have been, you should know a man in his recliner never willingly relinquishes the remote! They must throw something else. 😉

  5. I have been to New Orleans, but never for Mardi Gras – too many crowds for me – and I love this city. It has such a lovely spirit and pace of life. The square, the D Day Museum, the Aquarium, beignets by the river, the site of the Battle of New Orleans, the zoo, and just walking the streets and popping in and out of little shops. Ah yes, N’Orleans.

    1. I will never go for Mardi Gras either. i stay away from crowds as well. The D-Day Museum is now the National WWII Museum. I am going to post some photos from there soon. We didn’t make it to the Aquarium, or the site of the Battle of New Orleans, but we did manage to enjoy Beignets a couple of times.

  6. A recliner parade! Now that’s a parade I could take part in. 🙂 It’s great to have an insider’s look. I didn’t realize they had so many named parades during that time.

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