get carried away by the celebration
If New Orleans is famous for one thing it would have to be its Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) celebration. Yet most see it as a bacchanal celebration for raucous college students, while it is in fact so much more.
Fat Tuesday celebrates the final send off for our excesses before the religious period of Lent, observed by Catholics. Since many people who celebrate it give up things like meat, fatty foods, or alcohol during the 40 days of lent, the time leading up to it is fraught with excess. Independent from its religious origins, Mardi Gras has risen to a level of popularity on both national and international levels, because, really, who doesn’t love a good party?
Carnival is celebrated in many ways and in many places, from dancing in the street in Rio de Janeiro to masquerade balls in Venice. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras is infamous for its debauchery and plastic beads, but the traditions surrounding it have far more breadth. Families wake up bright and early on parade days to claim their territory lining major thoroughfares like Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue. They will camp out from the wee hours of the morning to make sure they have the perfect spot, and even take decorated ladders to get a head up on the crowd for catching the beads, doubloons, feather boas, and other prizes thrown from the floats.
Throughout the day, whole families stake out their spots sending members to bring back provisions from the drive-thru daiquiri places, spicy fried chicken joints, or even better to pick up a world famous King Cake. The whole day is a celebration culminating in the parade. The music from the marching bands pipes up, and the floats begin to roll by. Everything is bathed in a purple, green, and gold aura; no one could resist being carried away by the atmosphere.