Where is My Voice?!

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No, this isn’t a political post…. it was just Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras #3 my lucky number! As I told my mother, it’s a marathon… not a sprint. While I thought I’d make it out unscathed (since I’ve completed 4 half-marathons before…. thats like 2 fulls right?!) I was clearly mistaken.

Year 1 – no friends, Year 2 – friends & tutu, year 3 – friends, costumes AND FOOD!

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First comes the Crawfish & King Cake, then come parades

I’ve learned my lesson here, don’t try to go anywhere when parades are planned. Especially when you live in the box… the box.jpg

That Heart? thats my house, the purple starburst? that’s where the floats load & unload. Orange is the 2 way street that’s shut down when parades are staging and the yellow highlight is the actual parade route. If I’m not back to my apartment before floats start rolling, I’m screwed… stuck in traffic for hours. Thankfully I adapt quickly. I plan work close by these weeks so if I get stuck in the traffic, its maybe only 30-45 minutes. And I’ve found the alternate routes (no thanks to Waze….).

I’ve also fully embraced the New Orleans costume culture. I attempted to find a costume for the 610 Stomper ball by going to a costume sale however only one thing I purchased fit… dang my athletic build with broad shoulders & wide ribcage.

The unofficial kick-off parade is Krewe Du Vieux – it runs downtown through the French Quarter so I was able to meet up with some friends who have an apartment on the parade route. Pretty laid back costume-wise for this one, it’s a short parade and just the start. No need to go princess-of-Mardi-Gras that early. It’s a little vulgar of a parade to the point of asking yourself “why are there so many children out here for this”

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This year, due to the election, there was quite a political tone. Lot’s of floats highlighting our new president and some of his previous quotes. Yes…. those people above are dressed as vaginas….

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The following parade days are much more appropriate. I think my favorite are the Saturday/Sunday parades because if it’s nice outside, its a full day in the sun.

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I realized my tumbler I bought upon my first visit here for my job interview, holds an entire bottle of wine. On a nice day, a cool refreshing beverage goes down pretty quick. Luckily the Walgreens across the street from our spot was open and selling snacks 🙂

Also, sunscreen built into moisturizer/makeup is my best friend because I came out of Mardi Gras without funny flash tattoo or facepaint tan lines.

The night parades are where you get the good stuff. You may have the assumption that it’s all about catching beads. Reality: It’s all about making sure beads don’t hit you in the face while you try to catch the “throws”, the good stuff, light up stuff. I have  a couple friends who ride in the Mystic Krewe of NYX and so I biked a little over 3 miles to meet up with another group to catch them as they floated by.

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You see a lot of the same groups in each parade – high school band St. Augustine is a very large one, they take up curb to curb space, everyone has to squeeze back as to not be hit with instruments. And of course, the Budweiser Clydesdales. Our friends naturally hooked us up with bags of good stuff which were reused throughout the rest of the parades… .like the tutu & flower crown below.

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Almost every parade has a theme and a signature throw, NYX is purses, Muses is Shoes, Zulu is Coconuts, etc….

I snagged a purse AND a coconut last year. I was determined to get a shoe this year but didn’t know any of the riders so that would definitely make it more difficult. Or so I thought.

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I was stuck behind a family but somehow a lovely woman saw me and handed this cute flat straight to me!! woooo!!! It’s proudly displayed under my living room TV currently.

I also finally got to spend my christmas gift card on a few Amazon items… GALAXY PRINT items 🙂 and broke out the facepaint I bought last year. Now, I’ll take that I’m crafty. I like creating things with a hot glue gun but artsy? Heck no. I still draw stick figures…. although their legs no longer come straight from their heads (I blame my sister – growing up people said she was “all legs”. What did I know?!)

Amazon inspired clothing and I scoured Pinterest for facepaint ideas and came up with…..

The girls and I all uber’d up to New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Co for a quick bite as the parade started to roll through then attempted to battle through all the frat parties. I appreciate more and more making it through college in 4 quick years. We all agreed we hoped we weren’t that obnoxious in our youth.

Most nights you don’t get home till around 11pm, and its still a school night. Until Krewe of Endymion on Saturday. There are 2 parades before it in Uptown, but it’s the biggest/longest parade through Mid-City. Friends staked out a spot (with portapotties!) and supplied an entire cauldron of jambalaya and a bunch of other snackey foods. The other girls and I managed to snag a ride with one of the dads who dropped us as close as possible with our snack contributions and we settled in for a long day. That was around 1:30pm. The parade wasn’t due to start till 4:30. While there was some negative light on the parade (a kid made a poor decision and got behind the wheel drunk, running into a few cars and colliding with people on the parade route – there were a few injuries, but no deaths) Mardi Gras/Carnival is really just a big happy party. Sometimes the parades have to stop – floats/tractors break down, the first half moves faster than the second, etc. And that’s where more fun happens. Strangers become friends and everyone is just wanting to dance.

It must have been around the time of the accident that this dance party happened:

Because this parade lasted about 4.5 hours, I acquired quite the bead count. Stupidly I left them all hanging around my neck on those headache pressure points….. I’m sure the lack of water and excess of salt also wasn’t helpful, but a small price to pay for a hula hoop!

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I managed to escape again sans-face tan lines. Shoulders caught all the redness 🙂 But Sunday was another gorgeous day in New Orleans which meant more parades!! I decided to channel my inner Lisa Frank appreciation (and since the new makeup line is coming!!!)

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I received a ton of compliments on this look which was kind of fun 🙂 I also managed to keep completely covered and STILL snag big beads!! TWO pairs thankyouverymuch 🙂

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Monday has another evening parade which I definitely didn’t make it to. I was exhausted. Thank goodness it was an ofifce day, my body wasn’t functioning.

Fat Tuesday… Everything shuts down. I mean EVERYTHING. Sure some people go into their offices to get work done because it’s actually quiet, but most companies are closed. THERE’S EVEN A MARDI GRAS SCHOOL BREAK. Seriously, everywhere else it’s just Tuesday. Here? It’s Zulu and Rex. The day to indulge in all the things you’re planning to give up for lent.

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I went with flower power for this parade. Re-using my Senior High School Homecoming corset (2005)… that I repurposed for Halloween of 2015. And my Ariel running skirt from 2015’s Disney Princess 10K.

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I keep having to unlace the back more and more each time I wear it, I think this may be the last opportunity!

Zulu is a little intense. It begins (or is supposed to begin) around 8AM Tuesday morning. People get out there to stake out spaces before the asscrack of dawn. Our friends were back and forth before the sun came up – WE got out there a little later when the parade just started rolling by. I about had my fill of Mardi Gras by then, so all the pushing and being elbowed in the face sent me back to the food table on the sidewalk to people watch.

Like I said, I’d had enough by then so I didn’t even stay for Rex. Typically they throw the same gold beads for every float but the dangle reflects the float’s mascot.

It was back into the real world work week on Wednesday. However after all the wooing and yelling and “Hey mister!”s the past week, I had just the scratchy noise of a voice left. So, to really feel like The Little Mermaid, I headed to the gulf coast to visit some agents and stayed at Perdido Beach Resort. It was nice to take a few minutes in the evening and on Saturday by myself. I’d been down to Orange Beach on 4th of July last year with the girls so Friday night I took myself to Flora-Bama for some oysters and live music. Met a very nice couple who were traveling around from Santa Barbara and completely lost the last ounce of sound my vocal chords should make.

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Wouldn’t you know, after 10 days of Parades and a beach day to recenter, another whole week of work arrived and led up to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Almost a week early yes, but New Orleans will take any excuse to party (don’t worry, there will be an actual parade on Friday too).

This Parade is always the Saturday before St. Patricks Day – they throw all the fixings you need for your Irish Stew or Corned Beef & Cabbage. Yes.. .they throw cabbages. I caught one (literally one-handed 2 years ago) and this year I was handed a nice big one from the last float.

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This parade is VERY relaxed… no big bands or dance troupes. Just the drunken menagerie of men handing flowers out for kisses. Or whatever else they pull from his pockets; like leg garters….. or panties. yikes.

So today as I write this from my bed…. I’m contemplating how terrible it would be to order delivery twice in 12 hours…

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I’m exhausted. But a big thanks and shoutout to those forward thinking citizens for making sure we don’t fall into the potholes along the parade route that the city refuses to fix 🙂

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Happy Mardi Gras!! Onward to St. Patrick’s Day and more life adventures!

 

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