Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, means many things to many people but it generally splits 4 ways in town. There are the crowds attending the parades, the families and friends gathering at parties, the tourists overindulging and flashing each other on Bourbon Street and the locals who costume in the French Quarter as has been the tradition since the beginning. They’re all some version of fun, but for me – it’s all about the costumes. People spend up to a year coming up with and creating their costumes. I don’t. I just put on purple, green and gold so I don’t spend my day posing for pictures when I could be taking them. (Though, this is subject to evolution if I come up with a great idea).
We started our day with a great breakfast and some Mardi Gras donuts at Wink’s Bakery on Decatur. In costume. Then we joined the growing chaos that is Mardi Gras in the French Quarter. There were roving bands and boom boxes and giant ship-floats being pushed by hand. Intersections became dance floors. There were families and other groupings dressed in themes like Krewe De’tour, a commentary on our overwhelming road construction, and Zappa’s Potato Chips, a play on our local Zapp’s chips and Frank Zappa.
On Mardi Gras 2013, I ran into the Pussyfooter who’d just beat me at the Royal Sonesta’s Greasing of the Poles (explanation HERE) and we began the discussion that became her sponsoring me to become a Pussyfooter. So, I was delighted to run into so many of my Pussyfooting sisters throughout the day. We were all in costume but none of us wore our signature pink.
Running into friends is probably the best thing about the whole day. Without the distraction of things being thrown at your head at a parade, you can truly visit. Or just grab a hug and keep rolling with St. Ann’s parade. Or share a tip on the nearest bathroom. When the weather’s as beautiful as it was, that’s really the biggest problem most of us face that day. The schools and post offices are closed. Most people aren’t working and almost everyone is at some free, fabulous version of a party. And as we’re so fond of reminding ourselves, everywhere else it’s just Tuesday.