Today is the mother of all parties and you KNOW you need a little fix — whether you just got back or you have never been to Mardi Gras, whether you prefer your Fat Tuesday Mobile-style (à la Martha) or you think New Orleans does it best, we all need a taste today. And, since Martha has done Stylebriefs’ Mardi Gras post for two years running, I asked for a chance to add a little New Orleans-flavored Mardi Gras nugget this year.
I just got back last week from a quick weekend trip with my family to NOLA to visit my sister, who has lived in New Orleans for almost 30 years now. Last year, I took the kids down to help celebrate with my godson as he played page to Queen of a krewe and we have decided to make it an annual trip. While I used visit her during college and law school for Mardi Gras (which was much more of a late night parade and Tipatina’s for the Neville Brothers event, going with your kids is a totally different kind of fun.
The parades in Uptown the weekend before Mardi Gras are really family-oriented. The crowd is lighter than the weekend just before Fat Tuesday and way more tame (no one was drunk and no one bared their breasts). And the parades themselves perfect for kids — way better than the Disney Starlight Parade IMHO, because they throw light-up, glow-y, flashy things (and beads! and a million other plush toys and hats and whatever else) . . . that are FREE (!!!! imagine how much that would cost you at Disney!) . . . and the parades are back-to-back-to-back-to-back. Your kids will definitely get their fill – we have 8 bags full of this stuff sitting in my dining room (free to a good home! DM me if you want it).
We ate well. Last year, beignets at New Orleans Coffee and Beignet Company in Uptown (a great take on the original). This year, we were more focused on Manny Randazzo’s king cake. We had po-boys and red beans and rice at Joey K’s on Magazine Street, a great place for very authentic New Orleans fare (because of the street closings we stayed close to home; our usual has always been Frankie & Johnnie’s, which is extremely authentic and very good as well).
Anyway, I brought back a couple of choice nuggets just for you — to help you get this day started right and to bring a little of the fun and excitement right to your Fat Tuesday!
One thing: You’ve gotta love a marching band. But, the dancing girls with the bands (each high school marching band has about three different dance troops) are what it’s all about for me. These girls have got it going on . . .
Something I learned at Mardi Gras: Tassels are BIG this year. . .
I mean BIG . . .
Another thing I learned at Mardi Gras: middle-aged, chubby, white girls love to dance. I have just three words: SIGN. ME. UP. holla!!!
News flash: they are not just throwing beads these days. Saints hats, stuffed animals, light sabers, glow necklaces, and really anything cheap that lights up were as common as beads . Here’s Lou sporting a light-up-flashy thing and a boa tiara that she caught and then Bud sporting his fresh catch. Then, a pict of my niece with Bud and Lou and a few beads after the first parade on Friday night. I wish this was the extent of the plastic cr*p ended up with!! Serious about finding a home for all of the stuff we have left over!!
I brought my Hubby this year and it made it even more fun! He’s a lot better catch than I am! Below is a pict of the two of us before the evening parades started on Saturday night. I am wearing what has become my uniform here – a Jenni Kayne (or often Ann Mashburn) blue-striped button down, a cashmere crew neck sweater, high-wasted skinny jeans, and (not pictured) my Stan Smiths. Perfect for leaping and jumping for beads and lighted swords for your kids! And, even if Martha doesn’t agree, I don’t think they make your (or my) legs look dumpy!!!
The krewe ball last year was a ton of fun. There were a lot of costumes like this (my precious godson) and a lot of long dresses and long white leather gloves. (I grabbed my dress off of the Saks sale rack and borrowed my sister’s gloves. This is the perfect time of year to catch a bargain on evening wear!!!) The beignets and king cake at the Queen’s Supper at midnight are what I will remember most from this evening! Eat, drink, and be merry, right?
Speaking of King Cake, at my sister’s suggestion we made a trip out to Metarie on Friday morning to Manny Randazzo’s to stand in line (around the block) for fresh and hot-out-of-the-oven King Cake, rumored to be the best in New Orleans. I was skeptical because King Cake has always been just stale danish to me – dry and a little bland. How much better could it be??? WAY. Word. We finally settled on 6 cakes (one for us, one for our other sister, each of the kids’ classes, etc., etc. . . you get the picture . . .). Here’s a picture of my sister, Leah, my niece, Mathilde, and Bud and Lou with our loot.
I’ll leave you with “Mardi Gras Mambo” by the Hawkettes. C’mon! You NEED a little mambo this morning and, IF you are REALLY feeling it, “Hey Pocky Way” by the Neville Brothers from LIVEAID (1994). (Sorry!! I couldn’t find a Tipatina’s version on YouTube). However you do it, here’s hoping your Fat Tuesday is decadent!
photo creds: yours truly