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How to do Mardi Gras like a New Orleans local | Where Locals Go

-Mardi Gras for New Orleanians is more important than Christmas, Easter, any other time of the year -It doesn't matter where you come from, demographic, economic, you know, socioeconomic background, your race, your religion

When you get on a float, you're all family -Mardi Gras is, I think, the best of society I think it's the best of New Orleans, too -I mean, it's really just an opportunity tor us to show the world how awesome New Orleans is And this is, no question, the greatest free show on Earth

We pride ourselves on being the ones that put this thing on -Mardi Gras is technically just one day — Mardi Gras, which is Fat Tuesday And that day is the day before Lent happens, but it's roughly 46 days before Easter Mardi Gras in New Orleans lasts a lot longer than just one day We call the season Carnival, which lasts from January 6th until whenever Mardi Gras day is

-There's a number of weekends of parades and it's not just large floats It's walking krewes that go through the neighborhoods, and it could be 20, 50 people It could be 4,000 people -Krewes literally make Mardi Gras what it is A krewe is a private social organization that gathers together to put on a private ball and also often a public parade

-That's how you want it to look, see -A krewe can be gender-based, it can be neighborhood-based, or just a group of friends who gather together -A lot of people come to town and only see Bourbon Street, right, which is fun Don't get me wrong There's a lot to do there, a lot to see there

But really, it's so much more than that And you're doing yourself a disservice if that's all that you go and enjoy -New Orleans and Mardi Gras are both so much more than just the French Quarter and the CBD A lot of people who aren't from here or haven't been here don't realize that, you know, there are parades all over If you really want to, you know, get more of the local scene, don't just stay in the — I mean, the French Quarter geographically on a map is a really small part of the city

So if you want to see more, then branch out from, you know, those, like, eight blocks basically -We love you! -The people in the back, where you at, where you at The sound up -We try and put on a very first-class performance on a Saturday right at 3:30, so it's right at a great time where it's daytime moving into the evening The parade route runs, really, from traditionally around Napoleon, down to St Charles, around Lee Circle, down Canal Street So you have your different facets of each area that's a lot of fun

Me, personally, I like Napoleon That's really when the parades start Everything is getting ramped up All the riders are throwing heavy The bands start to strike up and it's just a magical moment to really go from solitude to mania in that short of a time

-You have these traditional routes that are all family You have people that go to the same corner every year Their family's been doing it, like, for generations -It's a full family affair You know, that's a common misconception as well that people think Mardi Gras is just this, right? And it's certainly not

Most of Mardi Gras is actually incredibly family friendly And then there's the nighttime parties, which can be very formal if you're into that So it just really depends on where you want to fit in into the structure or if you want to try a little bit of each and have different friends in each scenario -Everybody in New Orleans is, like, super welcoming, super friendly So if you go up and you're nice to people and you're polite to people, like, they'll usually invite you in to their circle

And then they'll, you know, feed you some jambalaya and give you a beer and send you on your way It doesn't matter where the year has taken you or what you did all year long, when you come back for Mardi Gras, you're gonna go stand in your same spot that you've been standing at for forever, you're gonna see the same people that you see year after year They're gonna update you on their life You're gonna tell them what's been going on with you It's like coming home

-It's a gumbo When you mix all of these people together and you throw in some alcohol, you throw in some music, you throw in some good food, it's just the best experience It's the best experience in the world

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