My T@B had been at the factory for 2 months this winter getting ceiling repair work done, so by the time I went to go pick it up, I was having some serious "winter snowbirding" temptations. A quick check of the weather forecast revealed that the Gulf coast would be warm and sunny the following week, and it just happened to be Mardi Gras weekend as well...thus, our first T@Bventure of 2009 was now a plan!
Mom, Millie, and I drove virtually non-stop all the way down to New Orleans to get there in time for some large parades on Saturday. We got one of the last sites available at the New Orleans KOA and were rested and ready to go on Saturday morning.
We got to Canal Street just before noon and claimed a few feet of open curb to sit and wait for the parades to begin. Mom played it pretty low key, just buying this smartly accented boah--
Others were quite another story! This gal was ready to party with her rubber boobs, boah, hat, and long tall drink--
Even the vendors & cops were in festive spirits as we waited for the parades to begin:
Finally, the wait was over and the first parade began, hosted by the Krewe of Iris. This parade featured a parade queen, marching bands, bagpipes, and a number of floats from various travel destinations from around the country. And of course, about a million beads thrown from those floats to the awaiting arms of thousands of parade watchers!
The next parade of the afternoon was by the Krewe of Tucks. This one was a bit wilder with floats that mocked FEMA, the crummy economy, Elvis, and the 70's. Along St. Charles Street, many locals brought their King Cakes, kegs of beer, and even their own step ladders to catch all the goodies raining down from the floats (ranging from necklaces, cups, frisbees, mini toilet plungers, and mini rubber bouncing balls).
Business is a bust for this street vendor. It's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it!
The scene on Canal Street as floats go up and down both sides of this very large street.
After the parade, Mom & I started to try and head into the French Quarter from Canal Street, but the crowds were getting quite large by then (and our chances of finding a good place for dinner and being able to get back across the parade route to our parking garage were looking rather slim), so we decided to head back to the car and go to dinner away from downtown. We found a terrific seafood restaurant near the KOA to enjoy our gumbo and cajun-spiced catfish.
The next morning, we got up early to head back to the French Quarter for warm beignets at Cafe du Monde. The line was already pretty long at 8:00am-- 1/2 the folks were just waking up; the other 1/2 were still partying from the night before! The drive through the French Quarter was also quite an experience-- city street cleaners were out with high pressure washers literally hosing off Bourbon street to try and quickly remove the 6" layer of trash from the night before-- beer bottles, cups, mardi gras beads--- you name it! It must have been a pretty roudy night!