Monday, March 3, 2014

New Orleans Trip - Day One

We are up early but excited to leave the COLD!
For the first time since our honeymoon in 2000, we decided to have a vacation that did not involve visiting family members.  Of course, we love those trips but we decided it was time that we took advantage of the fact that we are both retired and have the resources to travel and experience places we haven't been.  Mardi Gras was our first choice, aided a bit by the brutal winter we have been enjoying Rochester.  As I write this, the temperature in Rochester is 7 with a wind chill of 10 below.  Yesterday it was 78 in New Orleans.  guess we lucked out.  Click here for updated Picasa album.

Rochester airport as we took off
As we usually do, we connected through Chicago-O'Hare.  I was expecting some delays due to the storm that was moving through the Midwest but we got to ORD on time and left only about 45 minutes behind schedule.  We stopped by the La Quinta where we are staying and got some local intelligence about where to go for "family friendly" parades.  Not that we are old fogeys but we are styaing away from Bourbon Street in the evenings until after Mardi Gras.  Since we are here till Saturday morning we will have plenty of time to hear some music and eat good food without what the Visitors Bureau describe as the "bawdy scene."

We drove down to the Uptown venue and parked on a side street and walked to the intersection of Napoleon and St. Charles.  We saw two parades:  the Krewe of Thoth and the Krewe of Bacchus.  We collected our share of beads and got into the spirit of Mardi Gras.

This my favorite.  Step ladder with bench
for two or more kids and a chute to
deposit beads etc. into a container.
There were a lot of families as well as young people, high school and college kids.  While there was some racial diversity, the crowd was over overwhelmingly white.  We immediately realized that we should have brought a step ladder from home since that is the key to getting the best view of the parade and garnering the maximum amount of goodies being tossed from the floats.

The first parade was the Krewe of Thoth and began at noon and ended around three.  The Krewe of Bacchus was a night parade beginning at 5:30 with "super floats" complete with lights and awesome decorations.  Between each float was a marching band.  As the bands approached, the marshals would move the crown back to make room.  Once the band passed by, the crowd would surge out into the street to get close to the floats.  We felt like we were part of a sea of humanity.  Hugh Laurie of House was the reigning Bacchus this year.  Here is a taste of the experience.

You can view photos of the trip at the daily updated photo album by clicking here.

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