Trip Dates: February 23- February 28, 2017
I’d always wanted to go to Mardi Gras and to visit the birth place of one of my favorite rappers, Lil Wayne, to see all that Louisiana had to offer. As most know, Louisiana was devastated in the 2005 Hurricane Katrina and even to this day it left long lasting impact on both the infrastructure and inhabitants. My best friend, Brittany (pictured below) whom loves Lil Wayne even more than I do was dead set on going to Mardi Gras for her 25th birthday, so that’s what we did.
Brittany, who is the planner, booked our Airbnb, Airbnb Cozy Cottage in the Treme, which was a 10 minute walk from Bourbon street. I flew from NYC, our other friend Porche flew from Pittsburgh and we met in Houston where we did a mini road trip to journey to Louisiana. (Flights straight to Louisiana were an arm and a leg so we saved a bunch of money and got to visit one of my favorites cities, Houston)
Mardi Gras is one big party so that’s what we spent the majority of our time doing, drinking and partying! In New Orleans we were allowed to gallivant in the streets with our open containers filled with whatever our hearts desired, it was like Halloween for adults.
We partied, we drank, we ate, we partied, we napped and then we partied again. It was actually quite exhausting and reminded me of my senior year of college, which included more day drinking than course work admittedly. And mentioning college, the three of us attended the Pennsylvania State University, where we met, which has the largest active alumni network in the world….We Are! So in true PSU Alum fashion, we ran into so many fellow Penn Staters whom were also participating in the turn up festivities.
We partied, and we partied hard but besides that we’re also history nerds and New Orleans holding all of the history it does, we had to do a few tours. Brittany has an obsession with the supernatural it seems, so the highlight tour was that of Marie Laveu, Queen of Voodun. We did a walking tour around New Orleans where we ended in her burial site, hearing spooky stories along the way.
We also toured and took many flics in the legendary Louis Armstrong Park right near the French Quarter in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.
In true Kalyn fashion, we had to try all of the local cuisine while in NOLA, because if the south is known for anything, its slamming meals that’ll leave you feeling full up until you stuff your face again. We had the ever popular and ever delicious po-boy sandwich (shrimp, catfish and chicken), beignets from Cafe Du Monde after standing in their almost never ending line, shrimp gumbo, crawfish etoufee and other foods that you can only get done right, in the NOLA. We also had more of the infamous “Hurricane” drinks than I’d care to admit.
New Orleans is a beautiful city full of proud people, rich history and amazing food. Mardi Gras brought one million plus people into the city to celebrate in its culture and tradition and this left the city flooded with trash and spilled drinks and overcrowded the tiny French Quarter and Bourbon Street. But that’s half the fun of joining in on the festivities. I plan to get back to New Orleans, one for Essence Festival, because its Essence Festival, and another time when there isn’t much going on so that I can take in the city for exactly what it is.
If you are someone who just wants to enjoy the city for its Spanish influenced architecture, Creole culture, amazing cuisine and indescribable atmosphere, taking a visit to New Orleans when no big events are happening would be your best bet. On the contrary, if you’re looking for that plus a party like never before (similar to that of the Movie Girls Trip) then I wouldn’t second guess heading down for a Mardi Gras.
Good To Knows for Mardi Gras:
- Bring shoes that are comfortable and that you don’t mind getting dirty
- Bring masks and fun attire such as tutus
- An Airbnb is the way to go, we didn’t stay in the French Quarter to be able to escape for sleep
- No need to buy beads, you can catch them on the street (no need to flash anyone)
- Depending on what of the year you go bring a light jacket for the night time