Ilana Does Mardi Gras

Locals know Mardi Gras day is best spent in the Marigny and the French Quarter. Traditions abound from sun up to sun down as everyone finally dons their best costume of the season, made at home of course.

A week has gone by and I finally feel caught up on sleep enough to recap the magic of my Mardi Gras day. Take a look and let us know how it compares to your own Mardi Gras adventures!

4:00am – WAKE UP! It’s Mardi Gras morning!!! I’m up before the sun. It’s freezing outside. It’s time to put on my gold shoes, layer up, and head out to the bayou.


5:00am – After a bike ride from Bayou St. John down to Treme, we arrived at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. The North Side Skull and Bone Gang blesses carnival and wakes up the neighborhood. We gather outside the museum and second line through the streets as the sun rises.


6:30am – Get back on our bikes and head to a friend’s house in the Bywater for a big breakfast, a bonfire, and putting final touches on costumes and floats for Krewe of Clouet to march in Society of St. Anne’s walking parade. The theme is “Totally Nebular: Clouet Travels to the Cosmos” and I’m dressed as Freddie Mercury alongside Bruno Mar-tian and the Plant Formerly Known as Pluto (aka Prince).


8:30am – Walk over to the Clouet House for a final toast to our King & Queen before joining the full parade. Our floats, The Black Hole and Uranus, are both in tow. Many fabulous costumes abound including Mission Space (astronaut priests), Saturn Bar, Miss Frizzle, Space Monkeys, and the aliens from Toy Story.


10:00am – Walk with St. Anne’s! We’ll careen the floats around as we meander from the Bywater through the streets of the Marigny and into the French Quarter. We’ll run into (both literally because these floats are human powered and hard to steer and figuratively) friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, lovers, etc. all along the way, each person decked out in an even grander homemade costume than the last. Humans young and old alike are covered in glitter, with brightly colored wigs and fabulous make up.



2:00pm – Arrive in Jackson Square and break into the bags of Zapp’s and leftover bagels from breakfast. Turn the music up to keep the party going with more dancing and singing in front of St. Louis Cathedral. Take turns finding the closest bathroom and comparing the length of lines and cleanliness at this point in the day. Send at least 3 people to retrieve beignets to share at Cafe du Monde.


4:00pm – Get back to R Bar. Finally sit down. Assess where all of my belongings have ended up. Find things in The Black Hole. Consider that I’ve been actively awake for 12 hours but the sun is still shining. Get back up to keep dancing and rejoin the revelry. Carnival continues.

6:30pm – Finesse a ride home from a friend. Nap in the backseat while he sits in traffic. The tiredness has finally set in.


8:00pm – Crawl into bed after another yet another wonderful Mardi Gras day.


11:30pm – Wake up and realize it’s still Mardi Gras. Drink water. Acknowledge all of the glitter on the floor in my bedroom. Smile. Thankful for another fantastic Carnival season, but even more thankful it’s all over and it’s time for more sleep. See ya next year Mardi Gras 🙂



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