Mardi Gras in New Orleans is obviously one of the biggest parties in the United States, so that meant I had to go. Some friends and I had been planning the trip for a while and the time had finally come to go. We got dropped off at John Wayne Airport Saturday morning and with time to kill before our flight we while we decided to hit up one of the airport bars. My friends and I have sort of a tradition with starting off fun trips with margaritas, so we order a round with shots of bourbon to make them Mad Dog Margaritas for an added kick.
We had a 3 hour layover in Houston where we grabbed food and romped around the airport for a while. We were also able to have some more drinks… and then a few more on our flight (hey, we wanted to be ready for Mardi Gras).
We finally got into New Orleans at about 10:30pm on Saturday night with Fat Tuesday approaching the upcoming week. We got outside the airport and found there was a long line to get a taxi. We waited and got one for a flat rate of 60 bucks that would take us straight downtown.
Because of all the partying and the street closures our taxi driver could only get us about 4 blocks away from our hotel on Canal Street. That was okay since we were anxious to jump out and experience the party. As we walked to our hotel we got our first impressions of Mardi Gras and I think the best way to describe what we walked into was just madness.
Beads were flying, drinks were sloshing, there were street performers, and music was playing everywhere. We decided that the best thing to do at the time was to walk into the nearest liquor store and buy beers, which were not short on demand.
When then proceeded to check into our hotel (beers in hand) and I was really starting to like Mardi Gras. We got into our room and waited for our friend John to finish checking into his hotel across the street. We all met up, had a cheers, and then headed for Bourbon Street. We had a little taste of Bourbon Street as we walked to our hotel but now we were prepared to take it on in full force. It was not long until we were getting doused with beads and making friends in the street.
As we walked around I kept seeing people with this sort of canteen container filled with punch that hung around your neck which you could conveniently drink from a straw. I quickly became determined to get one of these interesting looking concoctions so I asked around and people pointed me to a place called Fais Deaux Deaux, which is usually just a little dive bar but since it was Mardi Gras they had a little drink stand set up out front.
With my punchbowl strung around my neck I continued up Bourbon Street to see what else was happening. It was mostly more of the same: people drinking in the streets and getting beads thrown down to them by people drinking in balconies.
Some parts of the street got really crowded but I continued to move on, and by this time I had lost the other members in my group, but I wanted to try to make it to the end of this party. I kept walking, sippin’ on my travel friendly punch, and squeezing through throngs of people. I probably walked four or five blocks on my own and still did not see an end in sight. By this time the booze punch was starting to really take effect and at this hour walking around with so many beads on the ground you felt lucky not to slip, fall, and break your neck. I decided to give up my search for the “end of the party” and head back to the hotel.
I’ll be honest and say I can’t quite recall all the details from this night but I do know I managed to make my way back to the hotel safety, retired my souvenir punch bowl to a shelf and reconvened with the rest of my friends. It had been a long day for all of us and I think we all called it a night around 5am Sunday morning.