Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fasching. All one big drunk fest. Free flowing liquor, drunken debauchery, lots of partying, some amount of nudity, plenty of wild and crazy antics.
Yesterday was Fat Tuesday. Last day to party like it's 1999.
I've been to Mardi Gras a couple of times back in my college days many, many, many years ago. Well before digital cameras and the internet. It is a spectacular site to behold. The parades are really awesome, with lots of floats and partiers and beads. I was a freshman on the drill team when we did a parade/competition in New Orleans/Mardi Gras in 1976. Imagine a whole crew of 19 year old freshman students descending upon the Bourbon Street. We thought we were bad ass. It was one wild, drunken orgy. Nothing like wandering the narrow streets of the French Quarter with about 100,000 other drunks while holding onto to your souvenir Pat O’Brien’s Hurricane glass. The Hurricane is a trademark drink of Pat O’Brien that is one part dark rum, one part light rum, passion fruit syrup, and lime juice - a sweet flavored elixir with a high alcohol content. Two or more of those drinks and will definitely push you into the party animal category. After our competition and parade, we hit the streets on Friday night. I dimly recall hitting several different bars, a few of which turned out to have very “interesting” entertainment. We all learned/saw something new down in the French Quarter. Many guys got quite “lubricated” on Bourbon Street (not I, of course). Towards the end of the evening, my old roommate Mark was pretty plowed and we had to drag/carry him back to the troop ship. In his stupor, he fell into me which caused me to drop one of my Hurricane Glasses I had “earned” from Pat O’Brien’s. At that point, I was not a happy camper and was going to leave his drunk butt in the gutter, but I was convinced to assist him in back to the ship. He was definitely dragging in the morning.
Nowadays, with all the parties & parades, it is even more of a madhouse. The parades are a wild sight to observe. The parade floats are highly decorated by the various krewes and they throw off beads at the crowds as they pass by. The fancier floats belong to the older, more established krewes and, of course, those beads are more valuable. Of course, the trick to getting beads is you have to “earn” them. They will throw you beads (usually there is a fight for the beads) but the really nice beads are reserved for special people who show their “enthusiasm”. With the advent of cell phone cameras and instant uploads to the internet, I am sure there are lots of pictures of the festivities and partygoers enjoying themselves. Remember, what happens at Mardi Gras, usually winds up in the net somewhere.
Of course, my parents are over in Louisiana this week for their annual Mardi Gras rally (been doing that for many years). They are not up to all the nighttime hoopla and revelry, but do attend several of the daytime parades. They always come home with several bags of beads each year from the various parades. I've wondered about mom who always manages to bring home some really nice/large beads...