08 March 2011

mardi gras on the gulf

Hey, guess what today is?!  I usually never did much to celebrate beyond eating pancakes, but now I live on the Gulf Coast and it's a huge deal here.  I'm Catholic and Easter is my favorite holiday, so I guess I should be celebrating this too!  They call it "Mardi Gras season," which is kinda weird since that literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French.  They also celebrate "Lundi Gras" (yesterday), but really this season is just Carnival and it culminates today.  The entire season actually started on "12th Night" which was Epiphany.  I think there was some type of celebration to kick it off here.  And with Easter so late this year, this is a really long season for parties!

Did you know that Carnival means "farewell to flesh/meat" (think of the Spanish word carne)?  Yep, we're partying here to prepare for our Lenten fasting, which begins tomorrow (Ash Wednesday).  Watching Protestants celebrate Mardi Gras and then not actually do anything for Lent always kinda bugs me.

When we took our New Orleans trip a few weeks back, we got to witness the first Mardi Gras parade of the season, the Krewe du Vieux.  (A krewe is just an organization that puts on a parade or a ball during the season.  Each parade float was made by a different krewe.)  All the locals (mostly our super-awesome hotel staff) told us this parade was "family friendly" and "satirical."  We were actually kind of underwhelmed by it (not drunk enough?), and also had to question the New Orleans definition of "family friendly."  This has got to be one of the most European cities in the U.S. based on this alone.  I (accidentally-on-purpose) punched a styrofoam sperm before witnessing this nightmare: 

Scarred for life.
To counter that experience, we went to the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade this past weekend, and it definitely fit the American-Puritan definition of "family friendly."  They also threw way more beads and moon pies.  The New Orleans parade didn't actually throw beads; they just handed them out because most people were walking, not actually on floats.  I actually couldn't get a ton of pictures from the Pensacola parade because I was too busy trying to not get smacked in the head with the deluge of beads!  There were a couple floats that were absolutely nuts.  It was so fun!

Pensacola Grand: people on floats, beads a-flying

Let's compare the "parade throw haul" from each parade, shall we?

From Krewe du Vieux.  I threw most of this out except the dreidel and the headband.

From Pensacola Grand Parade.  T-shirt, moon pies, Hershey bars, and silly bands, oh my!

Here's a dumb video of me receiving a plastic lobster by the skin of my teeth at the New Orleans parade, as recorded by my "boyfriend" (LOL):

Well, as they say around these parts, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"  Until tomorrow, that is, because then my bum will be here:

This really is my Pensacola parish.  Gorgeous, but even more so in person when you see the stained glass.


  1. what a gorgeous church!!

    ive always want to make it out to new orleans to partake in the mardi gras celebrations. that 1st picture you have up there scarred me for life now too. is that a thingie hanging from his thingie?!

    hope your lenten season is a blessed one!

  2. To answer your question... unfortunately, yes.