We made it! The onslaught of parades in Uptown come to an end today and we — the very tired — will rest our heads and begin dreaming about the next Twelfth Night soon enough.
Cheers to you for getting out there and enjoying a magnificent and unique event that truly has to be seen to be believed.
Before we all take long deserved naps tomorrow, I’m sharing my five favorite things about the Carnival season.
This year, just like every year, some of my fondest memories will be simple ones. I’m not the Mardi Gras ball type during this season. I’m not the dressing up and going to the Quarter for an expensive meal at a fabulous restaurant during this season. That’s for other parts of the year.
This season is for just hanging out on the street and laughing with your buddies.
Sadly, New Orleans Pelicans’ fans might not get to see the working relationship between Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins grow since Cousins’ injury cut his season short. The dominating duo has played less than a full season together and the Pelicans are going to have to pay a pretty penny to keep them together.
Someone once told me that I have a knack for making, and keeping, friends on the parade route. Actually, it’s hard not to make friends on the route. When you’re standing beside someone for hours on end, giving beads to their kids and maybe enjoying some adult beverages it becomes pretty easy to realize that we’re all the same. Now let’s just have some fun.
It looked like some new Saints had a blast at their first parade as well. Marshon Lattimore, Defensive Rookie of the Year and Alvin Kamara, Offensive Rookie of the Year, hit the route in style during the Endymion parade. The two were so enamored with the festivities they jumped off of their float and hung out with the adoring crowds.
I don’t suffer from FOMO — fear of missing out — but Carnival, and all of its events, can make one wish they never had to sleep during the season. However, I do have a sort of delayed FOMO when thinking about February 2010.
I didn’t live here then and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it was the Mardi Gras season that followed the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl victory. A friend once told me, “No matter how the Saints’ season ends, Mardi Gras is always there to make it all better.”
Which is a helluva tonic for anything that ails you.
I’ll always remember this year’s Saints’ playoff victory over the Carolina Panthers. Tracey’s bar turned into a dance party that spilled out onto Magazine Street. It was a blast. It also made me wonder just how loose this town got for Mardi Gras after the Super Bowl victory. I’m sure it was thing to behold.
Some krewes are not created equal when it comes to throws. Muses have their glorious shoes and Nyx has awesome purses. My favorites this year were Iris and, of course, Tucks.
Like Drew Brees looking for Michael Thomas on a critical third down, I was catching everything that came my way on Saturday. Iris had beautiful beads and even float-specific throws. Tucks, as always, was hilarious with bedazzled plungers, tiny toilets and of course my fave throw of them all — the toilet papering of St. Charles Avenue.
One of the first things I learned about Carnival when I got to New Orleans was you have to participate. No matter if you just throw on a Perlis rugby-style Mardi Gras shirt or go all out with wigs, body makeup and masks it’s all about being part of this beautiful tradition.
Speaking of participation, the UNO Privateers are making another serious run at March Madness. The Privateers are tied with Southeastern Louisiana and Sam Houston State trailing Nicholls State by a game. Four of the last five games of the regular season are against those very teams. Exciting finish alert!
So, don’t be the guy that thinks you’re too good to be goofy, New Orleans. As you read this, yours truly is in the Quarter in a penguin costume, cumberbund and dress coat. Oh, I’ll also have my gold glitter shoes on.
Happy Mardi Gras everybody!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Wayward Owl Brewing’s “Privateer” Pale Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Professor Longhair – “Big Chief”
Around the Way
You have to get out to Lakefront Arena and support the UNO Privateers. Your next opportunity is Feb. 17 as they play McNeese State. Their only other home game will the season-ending game on Feb. 28 versus Southeastern Louisiana in what could decide the regular season champion.
Barring a disastrous ending to the season, the Privateers will qualify for the eight-team Southland Conference tournament held in Katy, Texas. If UNO wins the tournament they will automatically qualify for March Madness. #GeauxUNO!