Friday, February 10, 2012

Mardi Gras Memories

With less than two weeks to go before Mardi Gras, we decided to ask our homeowners and staff members for their favorite Carnival memories. Well, specifically, I have been asked to gather Mardi Gras memories. And by “I,” I mean Sam, the grant writer – pleased to meet you.

You may be surprised to learn that this task is actually rather difficult. There are two reasons for this: either people don’t remember their favorite Mardi Gras memory (for one reason or another) or there are too many. Primarily, the latter. Not being a New Orleanian myself, I decided to just ask people, “What is your favorite Mardi Gras memory?” The universal response was a meaningful stare: Did you really just ask that question? Do you actually expect me to choose just one?

Well, with some trying, I did get a few answers.

Cynthia Dellavalle (Homeowner, left), a native New Orleanian, has been attending Mardi Gras ever since she was a child and would ride on the floats. For years she and her family have gone to the Endymion and Bacchus parades, staking out the same area near the parades’ ends so that they could collect from the riders who hadn’t distributed all their handouts. She would always take her children to their favorite events, but “Mardi Gras day is just for me.” For four years she continued visiting Mardi Gras even when she lived hours away in Mississippi. Having just moved back to St. Bernard Parish, she says, “The meaning [of Mardi Gras] has changed. It means home, now.”

Adrian (Site Supervisor / Office Man): “There are too many. My family’s from New Orleans. But my favorite memory is that one Mardi Gras my friends and I were at a parade where one float was throwing gigantic stuffed animals. They were these gaudy, sparkly, fuzzy things. My friends and I stood on the curb waving our arms shouting, ‘Hey Mister! Throw me a fuzzy creature!’ We didn’t get one, but we were so close. It’s still a good memory.”

Sarah (Social Media Guru): “It's hard to decide which Mardi Gras season was my favorite--but I don't think I've ever been in a place full of happier people than when Drew Brees paraded as king of Bacchus one week after the Saints won the Super Bowl. The happiness of the crowds that night was unbelievable, and I'm so glad I was able to be a part of such a great celebration--even if I didn't get one of the mini footballs Drew was throwing from the float.”

Ashley (Front Desk Coordinator, aka the Woman Who Makes Everything Work): Ashley grew up in Uptown, just a block away from the parade routes. Every Mardi Gras she and her family would set up a tent on the neutral ground (the median) to watch the events. Growing up, she says, “My biggest dream was to be a baton twirler,” because her mother had been a fire twirler. She made her dream come true by serving as captain of the Majorette’s at McDonogh High School.

My first Mardi Gras memory? I grew up in Iowa. My first Mardi Gras memory is envy.

What are your favorite Mardi Gras memories? Share them here or share them with us on Monday night, February 13 from 6-9 pm at an SBP happy hour event at Irish House on St Charles Avenue!


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