I have a confession to make:
I stink at Carnival. It is not my strength. I was born and raised here. I have been letting myself off of the hook because I don’t find it that easy or that fun, so we often leave town the week of Mardi Gras.
Crowds, Parking, Planning, Oh My
I have definite parade overwhelm. When I even think about what needs to happen to go to a parade, I feel overwhelmed and shut it down. I want to love it. Actually, I do love it. I love it in theory. I love the sound of it. I love it once I get myself into gear and stop overthinking it and just go!
Where will I park?
How long will I need to walk with these two kids?
Should I pull them in a wagon?
What about a bathroom?
Where will we stand?
Who should I call?
Should we try to meet up with a tribe or just wing it?
How early do I need to leave? … Ugh. I’m done. Forget it.
Here is the thing. People come to New Orleans from all over the world to experience Carnival season. I want my kids to be exposed to all of the things that make it so wonderfully unique. The colors, the bands, the beads, the horses, the floats, and the costumes. I want them to run around in the streets just like I did growing up.
As a child, I vividly remember driving home from parades at night feeling wonderfully tired and happy with a bag full of beads, and stuffed animals.
My turning point: My friend who is the ultimate Carnival girl, lovingly accused me of cultural neglect. It worked. This year we were at the first parade. We are still leaving town the week of Mardi Gras. However, we are experiencing the Carnival season before we leave.
My Solution To Carnival Overwhelm
- Have a plan
- Gather up a tribe
- Choose parades that feel convenient for you
- Show up early so that you can park close
- Use a backpack. Throw some snacks, drinks, and sunscreen in your bag
- Bring a wagon
- Leave early to get to your car easily
- You don’t have to go to the Avenue. If Metairie is all that works for you, go with it. Maybe I will venture to the city next year but this year, I am starting small.
- Don’t overthink it!
- Wear wigs, sparkle, and Mardi Gras bling because once you get out there, its fun!