A Dozen Favorites for Mardi Gras Day
If Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans is on your Bucket List, here are a few tips from a local. And if you’re wearing a cocktail around your neck and strolling down Bourbon Street, this post has reached you too late. My Favorite’s List is for anyone who’s mapping out Mardi Gras Day from scratch. I hesitate to call it Best Of, because you’d have to try every Bloody Mary in the city to know that and I can’t afford the rehab.
Favorite Parade: Zulu. Coconuts, Spears (Duck! A spear to the head stings), Zulu medallions and spectacularly costumed royalty make it the perfect way to kick off Mardi Gras Day.
Favorite Celebrity Reveler: Pete Fountain in his Half Fast Walking Club, which rolls just before Rex. Because the man is a music legend, I can only imagine the epic Mardi Gras celebrations he hosted in the days of Bacchus King Ed McMahon.
Favorite Runner Up: John Goodman. He often appears in the Half Fast Walking Club, and serves as an excellent ambassador for the city in productions like HBO’s "Treme," where he broke our hearts.
Favorite Bargain Spot for Parades: Friend on the Route. Ladders, bathrooms, snacks – it’s the social currency of New Orleans. Since Endymion was moved this year, the hospitality will double down next year. An open house is part of the package when you’re blessed with parade-front living.
Favorite Alternate Spot: The Stands. At $50 bucks per person, you’ve got risers, a port-alet (crucial) and if you sit near enough to the mayor there’s a chance you’ll catch his bead overflow.
Favorite Ritzy Places to Catch Parades: Hotels including the Ritz (naturally), the Sheraton, Marriott and Hotel Intercontinental have balconies overlooking the Canal Street parade route. It’s pricey, but an all-in-one holiday for first timers.
Favorite Street for Parades: St. Charles Avenue. It’s residential, friendly and the trees stay covered in sparkling beads thrown too high for most of the year, making them look crop dusted with glitter.
Favorite Chance of Catching a Mountain of Beads: Truck Parades. Once the majority of the crowd has headed home, floats full of riders have bags of beads and stuffed animals that they have to empty somewhere. Why not around your neck?
Favorite Place To Avoid: Bourbon Street. To the chagrin of locals, it’s what is often shown as the image of Mardi Gras. If you like clusters of men with camcorders waiting for a tourist to get drunk enough to flash, well, it takes all kinds.
Favorite Meal: Verti Mart Shrimp Philly. Call it in because the 24-hour deli’s lines are already out the door. It’s the proper combination of shrimp, cheese, green peppers, onions and a seeded roll – most of the food groups you’ll need to keep rolling on Mardi Gras Day.
Favorite Bloody Mary: Golden Lantern because 1) It says so on the sign; 2) It’s next to Verti Mart; 3) Spicy green beans, olives and plenty of pepper help you wake up and march.
Favorite Stroll: Krewe of St. Anne down Royal Street (This one is best explained in the video HERE.)
HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!
Posted on March 5, 2012 by Karen Beninato