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Mardi Gras Chicks

Mardi Gras, New Orleans, February 21, 2023



Though everywhere else, it's just Tuesday, last Tuesday in New Orleans was Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. When I moved to New Orleans in August, 2016, after my husband John passed away, my image of Mardi Gras, to which I had never been, was of drunken crowds and topless women on Bourbon Street. That first year, I learned that Mardi Gras parades actually start about a month before Fat Tuesday, and many wound through my uptown neighborhood. I went with my daughter and her fiance's family to watch. Though my heart was heavy and a part of me felt lost among the crowds, I saw kids eagerly catching "throws" from costumed people on the magical floats, heard rousing tunes played by proud, talented high school and college bands, marveled at dancing groups that romped their way along the street, and ogled random assemblages like the Elvi, Elvis lookalikes who sang, revved up their motorcyles, and mugged to the crowds. Far from a drunken orgy of tourists, the crowd was largely made up of local families and friends. Those performing in the parade were all shapes and sizes, and there was a lovely, joyful rhythm in the air. Following on the heels of each parade, a phalanx of streetcleaners worked into the wee hours to clean the streets and sidewalks.


I moved away from New Orleans last August to live near my daughter and baby grandson in Vancouver, Washington, but I wasn't going to miss Mardi Gras. On Fat Tuesday, a group of friends and I dressed up as chicks and joined St. Ann's, the people's parade. Why chicks? No reason, other than the fun of it. It took a bit of work to put it all together ahead of time, and some agita (e.g., sending my old sneakers in time for the glittering party, a friend kindly offering to glitter mine). I'm the third chick from the right in the photo above. We had a blast!


If you'd like to read more about my sailing adventure with my husband and daughter, please go here.


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