Happy Mardi Gras!

I am fortunate enough to have the day off of work today since Fat Tuesday is a Very Big Deal here in New Orleans and the city pretty much shuts down except for Walmart and fast food.  It is a gray and chilly day, but dry at least, and since the supermarket around the corner is open I will run out after lunch for groceries to make chili for dinner for Valiant Husband after he gets back from the parades.  He can freeze his rear end off.  More power to him.  I am staying warm inside with several knitting projects and a stack of DVDs I just bought that I haven’t watched yet.  I went to plenty of parades during the first couple of years after I moved here, but at this point I am SO over it.  Given the crowds that gather even for the more family-friendly atmosphere in the suburbs closer to where I live (no flashing floats here!), you have to get there two or three hours ahead of time to park your car and stake out a spot to set up your chairs, ice chests, and etc.  To get up AND at ’em that early on my day off?  No thanks.  It’s not even 10 a.m.  I’m still in my pajamas.  And I don’t really need a bagful of cheap plastic beads they will be throwing from the floats, either, until someone can show me a way that they might be useful for my knitting.

However, thanks to Boss Lady whose daughter who is queen this year for one of the organizations which puts on one of the parades, this has officially been the Best Mardi Gras Ever.

Here are some pictures from the ball.  So sorry I haven’t shared them sooner.  Time got away from me and then it was about to be Mardi Gras which seemed the perfect time at that point.

Immaculate hair and makeup job by Talented Stylist and her co-worker.

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Yours Truly was in a rare un-bum-like mode, dolled up with the blinged-out Ruched Cardi.

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They had over an hour of presentations and pageantry beforehand with the entrance of the King and Queen, and although people who attend every year were griping about it, Valiant Husband and I even enjoyed that since it was a novelty for us.

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After the pageantry, they had bands playing in three different rooms, and plenty of food and drink, and it was a party and a half.  Valiant Husband and I had a complete blast and stayed until the wee hours when the lights came back on and the bands started telling everyone to leave.  Then we were recuperating for about a week afterward.  Thank goodness all we had to do the day after was eat junk food and watch the Super Bowl (and since our teams both had lousy seasons, we didn’t much care who won).  We just can’t do those late nights like we could when we were spry young 20-somethings.  My Fancy High End Shoes ended up off my feet and under the table by about 12:30 or 1:00 a.m.

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Then, this past Sunday, we were also invited to watch the parade from the reviewing stands.  There was a lovely brunch beforehand and they kept the champagne flowing while we waited for the parade to reach the end of the route where the stands were.  Then they finally sounded the alert and we all had to rush out of the banquet room and find seats at the stands, where there was more champagne flowing.  The stands were tented to provide shelter, but thankfully it was dry on Sunday.  Gentlemen had to wear tuxedos.  Ladies wore Sunday best.  I think Lady Mary (“Downton Abbey”) would have approved of my outfit.  I just love any excuse to wear a hat.

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At the stands, the King and Queen stopped and made toasts which we shared in.  You can see the Queen on her float in the background of this photo.

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The Queen seemed to be having the time of her life.  She was grooving to the music the whole way as her float was moving down the street, and must have kept it up during the two or three hours along the earlier part of the route.  Then she was going to be meeting friends later for the evening parade, which started five hours after hers.  More power to her.  I don’t think I could have done it even when I was a spry young 20-something.

After the parade (which ran a bit late), it was closer to dinnertime than I had anticipated.  So Valiant Husband and I hit the road and decided that we were not quite ready for the lovely day to end and that it seemed like a Very Good Idea to scrap our original plan of eating leftovers in favor of going out to dinner since we were all dressed up and it seemed a shame to let our outfits go to waste.  So he treated me at a very nice Italian restaurant which is one of our go-to’s for special occasions.  Hey, I have absolutely no problem with having my fancy dinner the day after Valentine’s Day when things are so much less chaotic since everyone else and the ten people waiting behind them aren’t also trying to do the same thing as us.

Hope you have enjoyed this little taste of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Although I must say, I was very fortunate this year.  Most years I would have been watching the parade from the side of the street with the “peasants,” as Valiant Husband was jokingly calling them.  And I may never have a chance to go to a fancy dress ball ever again in my whole entire life.  So I enjoyed it thoroughly while it lasted!

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