The floats, the bands, the costumes, the people, and the drinks make Mardi Gras my favorite holiday, besides New Year’s Day. I have always been fond of Mardi Gras, especially the parades leading up to Fat Tuesday. When I was a little girl, I remember going shopping to buy a new outfit, which consisted of a pair of jeans, a shirt, and sneakers (all of which had to be name brand and colorful). In retrospect, it didn’t make sense to buy a new outfit—especially the sneakers that were going to get dirty—but, I had to get what all the other kids were getting, right?
On Mardi Gras Day, I show up bright and early at Mommy’s and Poppy’s (my grandparent’s house) about 6:30 a.m. in a pair of old jeans and shoes that I don’t mind getting caked with mud to put up carnival decorations and to make room for the pot luck dishes the rest of the family will bring. All day we munch on anything from king cake, red beans, and fried chicken, to hot dogs, gumbo, and finger sandwiches (the stuff that we will be fasting from the following day). Then I’ll head to our usual spot at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Oretha Castle Haley (formerly Dryades Street) to set up the chairs, the ice chest, and the bags that we use to put all of our throws in.
By this time it’s probably close to 8 a.m. and the Krewe of Zulu is getting ready to roll down the street. I love the Zulu parade! The rest of the family are usually running late because they overslept and are having trouble finding parking spots. Therefore, they constantly call my phone to ask if the parade has started yet. Meanwhile, I am well-rested, because I always go to bed early the day before. I have a big day ahead of me; I take my favorite holiday very seriously! I just sit patiently in my comfy portable chair sipping on an adult white or red grape juice waiting for the parade to begin.
By now the Zulu parade has passed and we pit stop at Mommy’s and Poppy’s to refuel. Afterwards, we walk three blocks to the corner of Josephine Street and St. Charles Avenue. We set up shop again to watch the Krewes of Rex, Elks, and Crescent City. After the last float passes, the police lights flash, and the cleaning trucks go by, it’s time for the children to go home, because French Quarter, here I come!