Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Now where did I leave off?

Oh yes, it was Christmas in Illinois.   Things seem never to stop here, just as Christmas time ends then Carnival time begins.  Mardi Gras was scheduled for February 12 this year.  That’s early!   

Growing up in New Orleans Mardi Gras was a big deal to us.  I can remember attending every parade during the season.  My Dad would take us downtown to the corner of St. Charles Ave. and Julia St.  There we would yell for throws and cherish every little trinket we would catch.  This time of year teachers would give a lot of homework on parade nights because they knew kids were going to the night parades.  What fun we had.

When my children we small,

We did make some parades but work always got in the way.  Now, there was a time when I lived a couple of blocks from one of the parade routes in a suburb of New Orleans and my grandchildren from Houston were able to see a few parades.

Moving forward to now,

It has been at least, 15 years since I have seen a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.  So this year, I decided it was now or never.

Convincing my grandchildren Griffin 16, and Taylor 18 we would have a grand time at Mardi Gras, I started to may plans.
                  TAYLOR                                                             GRIFFIN

We managed to make the biggest and grandest parade of the Mardi Gras season Endymion.  The Krewe of Endymion dominated the Carnival with the world’s largest Mardi Gras float ever, a $1.2 million, 330-foot behemoth titled, “Pontchartrain Beach, Then and Now.” The eight-segmented extravagance, designed to carry 230 riders, stretches almost the entire length of krewe’s Mid-City den where it is being decorated to evoke memories of New Orleans’ bygone amusement park Pontchartrain Beach that closed in 1983.

Waiting for the parade to begin:

Here it is in its entire splendor:




My brother lives a block and a half from where this parade begins.  He and his wife are friends with someone who has a nice large porch, perfect for parade viewing, right where the parade turns.  I had the best seat in the house.   We had a specular time.  The kids caught dozens of “beads and throws” and enjoyed themselves immensely. 

They were now ready for Mardi Gras day.

Having never been to a Mardi Gras day in New Orleans that they could remember this was going to be an eye opener.  Use to be, we would dress in costumes for Carnival, but talk as I could no one was biting.  Oh well, there is always next year,

One of the most pressing problems is where do you go to the bathroom?  Being a follower of many RV bloggers, I had come up with the perfect plan for the day.  A trip to Academy Sports and Wal-Mart, I now was the proud owner of a camping shower and a Chem-Potti.  I had secured a parking spot on Jackson Ave. just about 200 yards from St. Charles Ave.  We had our own personal potty, food and drink all the comforts of home.

Here is a shot of our set-up:

My chair is on the other side of the fence. If you look close you can see the red lights on the corner. This is where the parades pass.
We arrived at 6:00 AM and set-up.  The kids took chairs up to St. Charles Ave. to secure their place.  Every once in a while one of them would come back to the car for food and drink and whatever.  From my vantage point seated next to my car, I was able to see the passing parade but did not have to deal with the crowds.  The weather was a little chilly and we had a couple drops of rain but all in all the weather held.  We left for home around 2:30 PM.   A great time was had by all.
Notice the homemade port-a-potty in the back of the trailer,  a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!
This man was smoking and BBQing chicken and sausage and playing the best R&B you ever heard Karaoke and all.
The crowds were friendly we never had a minute of trouble.  If you have never seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans you are missing a good time. 

Next month,

St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day Parades then Easter!  Oh my, does it ever end?