I just got back from the Mardi Gras 2004 celebration and I had an absolute blast! So much that I really want to move there! We spent some time roaming the city of New Orleans and I just fell in love. The city has a lot of character and an interesting history. It was unlike any other I've ever been to in the States.
We decided to drive down from Montreal (as quite a few of you who helped me might know) and stop off in some cities as our needs (food, rest) dictated. Our first stop was Columbus, Ohio, where we stayed with my cousins. We then stopped off in Nashville, Tennessee the following day for some food. Let me tell you guys, I was plesantly surprised by both cities! We ended up going through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, ending quite obviously in Louisiana. It was like my childhood road trips revisited without parents. Lots and lots of fun for sure, and many interesting sights on the way down!
I would suggest the Mardi Gras to anyone and say BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING!!!!!
Travelover - Glad to hear you enjoyed Mardi Gras! The city got some bad press this year, with a tragic but extremely rare shooting incident on one of the parade routes, a woman who died in an accidental fall during a post-parade party in the Superdome, and then of course the unfortunate boat collision that closed the Mississippi River and backed up commercial and pleasure traffic on the river for days.
For the most part, Mardi Gras is a time when locals and visitors come together to have a great time. There is a wonderful spirit of fun and camaraderie, and it is a celebration unlike anything else, anywhere else in the States.
That said, I have lived here for so long that I sometimes leave town for Mardi Gras. For locals, the down side is that traffic, parking and crowds can become an issue...you have to leave work early to make sure you don't get hemmed in by the parade routes, you can't get into your favorite restaurants and clubs, and no matter how fabulous the parades, when you live here, you have a job, kids, school and stuff to tend to. Residents tend to either embrace it wholeheartedly, or avoid it entirely!
If you loved Mardi Gras, though, you could be a great candidate for moving to New Orleans. If you like the character, history, beauty and relaxed atmosphere that you witnessed during Carnival, you would definitely fit in. The cost of living is very reasonable compared to same or larger-sized cities, the atmosphere is relaxed and tolerant of all kinds of people, the climate is mild (well, quite hot in the summer) and we do love to have fun - great eating, music, diverse things to do, and unique celebrations like Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival.
Must say haven't experienced the 'Mardi Gras' yet although it is on the list of events I must try whilst travelling!!! Where abouts did you go in the area and wheres good to eat/drink etc?? I soooo want to travel more of USA and see the festivals and events held there!!! All these things I have in mind and the 'Mardi Gras' is one of them!! Did you get any photos and if so are they in the photo section?? My first celebration combined with travelling is going to be the Rio Carnival in Brazil. I reckon it would be really cool to combine a lively cultural event such as this with my travelling - it will add so much fun to the adventure!!!
One of the greatest times of my life was at the 2002 mardi-gras, can t even begin to explain the luck i had in that town, besides the constant presence of social debauchery i lost my mind on a daily basis. U are right though, there is so much to the town, be watchful of the Black Magic even if your a non-believer because if the world has shown all of us anything in recent years all it takes is one radical to bring your world to a halt. Seriously that stuff scared the hell out of me, i was warned that that town can be pretty sketched if you dont watch yourself, being for NY it seemed more of a vacation spot than disney. Did you find the crowds were more of a group collective, you dont really seem to walk you just sort of drift in the mass of the night, i lost a shoe and simply said f-it. went out and bought a flip flop and carried on in my decadence.
oh ya, forgot, try carnival you'll love it.
My experience at Mardi Gras was definitely like yours, blkjesus. Countless times people have asked me what it was like and the only thing I can tell them that it was a party on the streets. You just get onto Bourbon street, and you're good to go for the night. As you're strolling in the mass, you bump into people and spontaneously begin a conversation. I mean, we met guys from Missouri, North Carlina, Texas, Nebraska, Florida, New York, Canada, Australia, and it seems that all of these meetings happened on Bourbon street.
I remember first setting foot onto Canal street thinking, wow there's a lot of people here. I didn't know what was waiting just a block away! The debauchery was definitely fun to watch and sometimes take part of, although we had to draw the line at getting our beads the so called traditional way, cause none of us had the intention of ending up on Girls Gone Wild: Mardi Gras . The 3 for 1 drink specials are definitely cool! The place to be is Bourbon Street. I say, take the days to explore all of the French Quarter (cause it's massive) and then head on down to Bourbon at night. Decatur street is on the riverfront and is full of restaurants like Bubba Gump (for Forrest Gump fans), Hard Rock Café, and local places. One place you have to experience is Café du Monde. It's on Decatur street as well. They have the best beignets ever - beignets are like doughnuts but they're not shaped like them and they taste better, I find. Plus they're cheap - you get 3 for about 1.75$ or 2$. Yummm. Food is something I regret not experimenting with down in New Orleans. I did however try a po-boy (it's a sandwich) and jambalaya. Very tasty and spicy. Gotta love that spice!
The black magic stuff didn't scare me so much because I didn't feel like it was around me... but that was until we took the Ghost Tour. You have to go on a Ghost Tour for sure. Our tour guide (Kevin, who we totally loved) showed us around and pointed out places where sketchy crimes had occured... quite interesting but that's when you feel the mystery of the city. It's in the architecture, in the streets, in the people, EVERYWHERE. That's what makes it so interesting. But I underestimated the seriousness of voodoo, and we found out how serious they can be when we entered Reverend Zombie's Voodoo place.... they were insulted that we were filming a sacred place for their religion (as they called it), yet we had no idea it was a religion.
I loved New Orleans so much I can chat about it all day. Alas, I can't take up more space than I already have! Message back for any other stories or questions!
i have been going down to new orleans since i think the fall of 2001 just vistiting friends. love the city , read about it and talked about it since my first trip. finaly worked up the nerve to do mardi gras 2004
travelover i may have passed you on bourbon. i live near nashville i'm glad you enjoyed your trip through rocky top. hope to be down in nola for mardi gras 2005 ! i have some photos of the quarter if you want.
We definitely might have passed each other on Bourbon St.... actually we probably did! Mardi Gras was so amazing (as you can tell from my gushing ) that I want to go back in 2005 but alas, I cannot because it will be too expensive. I drove down last time, but this time I would not repeat the road trip, so an airplane ticket would cost about 400$ plus about 300-500$ for a hotel... it would rack up to quite a lot, and I'm saving my money for a trip to Spain next August. But just reading the thread made me all nostalgic and I realized that I still really want to go! Perhaps I'll be able to go after all... who knows! I certainly hope so!
P.S. You should upload your pics onto your Photo Gallery in your Control Panel. I have some of my Mardi Gras pics in my gallery. You can check them!
I was there in September - not at Mardi Gras time, but it's a party on Bourbon Street all year long. Didn't like it too much after the first night. Smelly, congested, spaced-out kids sitting on the curbs, crowds of Afro-American teens loitering in the wee hours of the morning. I think go with a group, stay together and don't get too drunk. Don't take a lot of money, don't flash money around and watch your pockets. Also have been warned not to wander off Bourbon Street onto the side streets at night. Dangerous, apparently.
Outside of the French Quarter, there are good restaurants, a casino and shopping. Riverwalk Mall is nice, the riverboat tours are fun as are the bayou tours via airboat. Take a city tour by bus, there's more to N'awlins than Boubon Street.
i have been down to the quarter after mardi gras only once i think it may have been a week after, and it was by far the worst trip i have ever taken. don't know if it was just my luck or the fact that everyone down there was shagged out from mardi gras or what but i now have a simple rule when it comes to new orleans, 'go during an event'
1 there is a good mix of locals and out of towners
2 so many people for the street hustlers to choose from
( they might just miss you)
3 this city while very cool and interesting doesn't seem the same without a party . . . i mean a real party see rule one,
not a real party if it's only you and some kids from Beta Alpha Ki
no offence guys
4 i swear people are nicer food is better and drinks are cheaper
( i have and can offer no proof but i'm sure its true)
anyway i have only been down 4 times but 2 of those times were awsome 2 of those times were not i'll let you make of it what you will.
as for the other streets in the quarter i disagree as to their being dangerous. royal st. for instance is the quintessence of french quarter charm and beauty, and roaming them at night illuminated by gas light, was my first taste of the quater. i did not go alone , and my companions new the quarter well. but the quater has always felt a little dangerous but thats part of the fun. (a sick sense of fun i guess)
but to be honest i have never felt more at home anywhere else.
i'll say this and then save some room on this page for someone else ,
i don't believe in ghosts, reincarnation, or an after life . . .
but how to say this right . . . in the quater there are many ghosts, and i knew the streets the first time i walked them, in nola i can believe in a past life.
ghosts brush past in the gloomy lamp light and are gone before your sure they were there.
" some familiar others strange
resting in memory, a face but not a name".