Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mardi Gras - More parades and more beads! (Throwback post)

After our three parades and huge haul of throws from Thursday, we concluded that to go to parades everyday would probably not be either necessary or sensible.  Indeed most people from NOLA just go along to one or two sets and so do most tourists.  So we skipped Friday and our next parades were on the Saturday.
Having seen how early people reserved their spaces for Thursdays parades, knowing that we were never going to beat them to it, and as we had a whole afternoon and evening ahead of us, we decided to book some places in the viewing stands for the daytime parades. That way we could get there a bit later, have a seat while we waited for it to start, and still be in a good position to see all of the action.

We got there early enough to get seats at the front, and so had a great spot and not such sore feet by the end, so we were still in a fit shape for the evening ones later, where we were going to be back at the side of the street.

The only disadvantage to the stands - and in fact the whole of the end section of the parade where there are railings along the road - is that you cant get alongside the floats if they are trying to hand something out to you specifically.  But as we weren't really there for the goodies that didn't much matter.

The Krewes this afternoon were Iris and Tucks and this evenings was Endymion.  Established as a Krewe way back in 1917, though not parading until 1959, Iris is the oldest and the largest of the all women parades.  They have traditionally followed very strict rules, wearing full length masks and white gloves.

They were a good parade, themed around New Orleans festivals and events, with a few nice quality throws including chunky necklaces with pretty irises or representations of the festivals, such as lobsters, Mardi Gras emblems, saxophones and the Bourbon Street lamppost.

Mind you, whilst it was great to get these, they were quite heavy around the neck by the end of the day and you had to be careful not to get hit in the head by one when it was thrown!

The Tucks have been going since 1969 and have an irreverent and humouristic approach to the parade.  They don't have the prettiest of floats, but they are good fun.

They have a toilet theme to their parade, with the King's throne being a giant toilet, and toilet related throws, including rolls of Tucks loo paper, which are thrown around like streamers getting caught up alongside the strands of beads that fall onto the trees, lights and the overhead tram rails.

We caught a plunger and a toilet that squirts out water amongst other things.

With a gap in the parades until this evening's one, we found a close by restaurant for a quick meal before heading out to find a spot to stand for the next parade.

This wasn't easy, as the crowds were already four or five people deep, but we found somewhere where we could get a good view.  As we started chatting to people, they were pleased to hear it was our first Mardi Gras, and before long we found ourselves hustled to the front of the railings.
Endymion, who go back to 1967 are one of the superkrewes.  Their floats are huge and are lit up with neon.  They often have celebrity guests; this year it was pop star Kelly Clarkson.  While some of their floats were very good, the parade somehow lacked some of the fun that the others had.
Perhaps it was that there were fewer throws to go around and that many of them were just the basic beads rather than anything more interesting - after all part of the fun is seeing what you have managed to catch and finding that it is a medallion necklace or something else specific to that Krewe.

But I think that mostly the difference was that the crowds were so big here that you didn't feel as personally involved and connected as you do with the smaller ones.
Nonetheless, we enjoyed the parades today and again went home laden with goodies.

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