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A New Orleans Mardi Gras

February 24, 2012

When you come home with a bag of beads, the ability to down slice upon slice of King Cake like it’s nothing and stories about balcony parties, parade floats and an argument between a cop and your jester hat-wearing uncle, you know you’ve just had the one of a kind New Orleans Mardi Gras experience.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…there’s nowhere like New Orleans.

From its Jazz-infused culture.

I’m not really sure why there’s a Christmas tree up in the airport, though.

To its food, that’s uniquely Southern, Cajun, French, Italian, African and Spanish all at once.

Grilled cheese, topped with an egg at Ye Old College Inn. Followed by their award-winnig shrimp po’ boy and their award-winning fried bread pudding. And then I died of happiness.

Just a giant loaf of French bread at the grocery.

Shrimp po’ boy at Parkway. For those of you not in the know, a po’ boy is basically a sub sandwich served on French bread. The bread at Parkway pretty much makes the sandwich.

Crab stuffed two ways at Crescent City Brewhouse.

Muffuletta at New Orleans Food and Spirits.

Crawfish Banditos at the Velvet Cactus. Guys, I don’t know what banditos are, but this was astounding.

It’s hard for me to pass up shrimp when I’m in New Orleans. Clearly.

My uncle’s gumbo. Perfect rainy day comfort food.

And let’s not forget the grits. There’s a little coffee shop down the street from my uncle’s house that we love going to every morning, for coffee and breakfast. Colorado is in serious need of a place like Nola Beans that serves a good breakfast, but isn’t quite a sit down restaurant.

To its sites and celebrations.

Mr. Bingle is kind of an old New Orleans mascot, which my family has grown to know and love because my aunt sends my mom a stuffed Mr. Bingle every year for Christmas. It was nice to see him hanging next to us at dinner.

If you know me in real life, you know how much I adore Harry Connick Jr. Turns out his dad literally lives across the street from my uncle. Which made it really convenient to stalk the house and keep an eye out for HCJ, who as it turns out, made a neighborhood appearance while we were out to lunch.

Nooooooooooo.

My uncle seems to know all the right people, so we had passes to a fully catered, open-bar balcony party, with all the beads you could throw all night. I felt like a real VIP dangling those beads over the desperate people in the crowd. Fact: throwing beads > catching beads.

I’ve been on lots of great vacations, all fun and memorable in their own right, but this one will definitely stand out in my mind as one of my favorites. Maybe it was the fact that it was just my sister and I, or that my uncle is the best tour guide, or that we got to spend a week in a city where everyone was celebrating and no one seemed to be taking life too seriously, but it was an experience I’ll never forget.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2012 9:08 AM

    How fun!!! We had a Mardi Gras pot luck at work, but there wasn’t much vegetarian food! I did have an AMAZING piece of cake though,. haha

    • February 24, 2012 10:58 PM

      Oops, New Orleans food isn’t exactly veggie friendly 🙂

  2. February 24, 2012 10:34 AM

    I have never been to Nola and should probably rectify that.

    Sounds like you had some VIP treatment. Nice 🙂

  3. brittney permalink
    February 24, 2012 11:16 AM

    I love vacation and all the food that goes along with it! When I think of Mardi Gras I think of The Real World: New Orleans. Did you watch any of that show? I hope you didn’t behave as crazily as they did 🙂

    • February 24, 2012 11:01 PM

      Ha ha, I actually didn’t watch that season, but I can imagine it was quite the mess. My experience was nothing like that.

  4. February 24, 2012 2:21 PM

    Looks like so much fun!!! New Orleans is such a unique city, seriously not like anywhere else in the country. I’ve been several times but never for Mardi Gras (my family always thought it was too inappropriate for us youngsters :P). My favorite thing about the city is the seafood! YUM.

  5. February 24, 2012 4:45 PM

    I’ve never been to New Orleans – but I seriously want to because all of that food looks INCREDIBLE!!!

  6. squigglefloey permalink
    February 25, 2012 2:36 AM

    I’ve always been so curious about grits! I hardly see them here in Southern California. But I grew up having cream of wheat all the time!

  7. February 25, 2012 7:12 AM

    Sounds like you had an amazing time! And holy crap those are some fantastic eats m’dear! I’m totally drooling over those pics!

    I’ve never been to New Orleans, but now I REALLY wanna go!

  8. February 27, 2012 10:59 AM

    So glad to see that you had such a wonderful time during Mardi Gras!! I think it was calmer this year than the last few, as far as gangstas go…lol!! NO place like New Orleans 🙂

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