The tradition of Mardi Gras in New Orleans traces back to 1856 when a small group of people gathered to organize a secret society to observe Mardi Gras with a formal parade. This group founded New Orleans' very first krewe, the Mystick Krewe of Comus. Krewes are the groups that organize and put on the parades that people flood the streets for.
When you mention Mardi Gras to anyone that's never been, they often associate it with drunken, nude debotchery. Where this fable orginated is still unknown. While some of this may happen on the city's famed Bourbon Street. None of the real Mardi Gras parades roll though that area, so the real celebration is not full 18+ activities.
For a quick lesson on Mardi Gras feel free to check out this:
Now that I’ve finally rested and recovered from one of the most epic trips to New Orleans I can confirm it’s the one place that always steals my heart.
Normally it’s the food, the history, architecture, and general resilience of the city that I love. This time it was the heart of the people.
After the pandemic took one of its most emblematic events, the energy and vibe of the people made it clear just why Mardi Gras is so important to them. One might say it’s the glue of the culture in the crescent city.
For me the entire experince was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Having been the city many times in the past because my brother inlaws lived there for many years and have become members of the Krewe of King Arthur, which is one the the city’s “super krewes”. King Arthur’s motto is "we accept all". How I got involved began when one of my brother inlaw's friends couldn't ride in the parade, that is where I got the invite to take that persons place. Making this years parade even more special is that my brother inlaw, and this now free spot, was on one of the royal floats after they were invited to join the royal court by the
2021 2022 king of the krewe.
My trip began flying into town a few days early to prepare for the parade helping load and distribute throws to the other riders, aquire provisions, and watch some of the first parades of the weekend.
Almost everyone has been to a parade, whether it's for christmas, indepenence day or some other holiday. A Mardi Gras parade is nothing like that. Quite frankly to sum up the experience and what a parade day is like, it's a collection of small family/freind gatherings where an occasional parade rolls through full of floats of people tossing fun beads and other items to cheering crowds, plus amazingly talented dance groups and drum lines.
Once the parade has passed though you will see the streets once occupied by floats and bands now filled with kids throwing footballs to each other, familes talking, eating and enjoying time together. It's nothing like a parade in the northern part of the country. Think of Mardi Gras as a mixure of a game day tailgate party with a few parades rolling by. I wish all parades were like a Mardi Gras parade.
If you follow me on any of my social media channels you've probably seen me post about a few of my favorite places to eat and drink in New Orleans. Food is just as big a part of Mardi Gras as is what you're drinking. It doesn’t matter if you are on the float or watching parades. There is nothing like grabbing a sandwich from my favorite butcher, putting it in your bag and eating it while drinking an ice cold local beverage and watching parades full of awesome drumline bands.
Friday there were 3 night parades. Saturday had 3 day parades and 2 night parades. Our parade was on what's refered to as "Family Sunday" the finale of the weekend and the last of 3 day parades on that sunday afternoon. There were many families out enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Overall the experience was so surreal. I for one will forever be changed by Mardi Gras 2022.
Knowing there are people that grow up in the parish and surrounding areas that attend the parades every year of their lives but never get the chance to roll in a parade, I was sure to uphold the privilege that was bestowed upon me. It was such an honor to not just roll but to get invited to join the royalty in the @kreweofkingarthur this year. I hope I made the krewe and fellow revelers feel how serious an honor it was.
I came. I ate. I rolled. I officially feel like a true New Orleanian. Thank you NOLA. You have my heart forever. 💜💚💙⚜️