Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tips For Going Solo For Mardi Gras

So far I've done Mardi Gras twice, the first time I went alone. That's not exactly as crazy as it sounds, you just need to make sure to be aware of your surroundings and use common sense the way you would travelling in any major city. The following information is from my experiences and thought it would be good to share, whether you're travelling with companions or going it alone.

*** Here are 3 tips for going solo for Mardi Gras:

1. Don't carry around more than you need
That means no large purses or backpacks, nothing bigger than what you really need since you'll be spending quite a bit of time in the middle of huge crowds. Phone/camera, identification, cash, and a credit card. Some vendors may be on the street and you might need cash to purchase something unique like a wild shirt or mask.

Be aware when stuffing money in your pockets or purse. I found a $100 bill neatly folded on Canal Street one night while making my way back to my hotel room. Needless to say I was a happy camper, but I'm sure the previous owner wasn't!

2. Be careful what you drink
Along the French Quarter, on and near Bourbon Street, are several daquiri shops with slushy drink machines featuring several flavors. These drinks look and taste good, but are also really strong. I've never tried the one labeled "Anti-Freeze", I stick to my usual Hurricane, which is a traditional New Orleans concoction.

Even if you have a good alcohol tolerance these drinks are pretty sip slowly! I still don't know how they keep the booze from dissolving through the styrofoam cup, lol! Enjoy with caution!

3. Read my post on How To Catch Mardi Gras Beads Without Losing Your Shirt
If you're new to Mardi Gras and want to know some of the best ways to catch beads during the parades, this is a must-read! Click here to check it out!

Thanks for visiting, feel free to leave comments below.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mardi Gras FAQ, Some Common Questions And Answers

The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans posted a featured story with Mardi Gras question and answers on their blog. It covers lots of basic information on Mardi Gras traditions as well as some travel tips. It's dated 2008, but it's still relevant today. From what the weather usually is during that time of year in New Orleans to a reader's concern about public nudity, there are sure to be some details that'll update your Mardi Gras knowledge.

Click here to start reading.

If you have any comments or questions you wish to share feel free to post below.

Thanks for visiting!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Support The Red Flame Hunters Children Mardi Gras Indian Tribe For 2013

The Mardi Gras Indians have been a part of New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions for hundreds of years. You can view my previous post by clicking here to read more about their history. This post is to help generate publicity for The Red Flame Hunters Children Mardi Gras Indian Tribe. They are asking for support to help with creating their Mardi Gras Indian suits for 2013. Funds will be used for materials such as beads, feathers, sequins and fabric. The group is made up entirely of children who are making their suits by hand after school and continuing the tradition through the next generation.
The Red Flame Hunters want to be ready to mask with the other Mardi Gras Indian tribes in the parades on February 12, 2013. 

 You can click here to view their Kickstarter page for more information as well as to make a pledge. The minimum pledge is only $1.00, they are looking to raise at least $3,500 by January 12, 2013.

Thanks for visiting, feel free to share this post!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Interesting Facts About The Mardi Gras Mask

The wearing of masks for Carnival celebrations dates back to Europe in the 1700's. In New Orleans parading began in 1857 and masks were worn during balls held by secret societies, now known as krewes. Masking is a way of concealing one's identity and gives the individual an opportunity to reveal a part of their personality not usually shared in public. Also class distinctions and societal taboos are blurred during Mardi Gras when masked party guests indulge during the Carnival season. After all this is traditionally the time to let loose before Lent!

Masks can be made with a wide range of materials and ornamentation. Feathers, beads, sequins, bows, studs...whatever you can think of! The amazing creativity that goes into the mask wearer's imagination is a big part of what makes Mardi Gras so much fun. Plus if you wear a really unique mask you may draw some extra attention from the float riders during the parades. That means you might get more beads and throws!

Another interesting fact: It is the law in New Orleans that anyone riding on a parade float is required to wear a mask, although individuals walking through the streets and particularly entering businesses are only allowed to wear them on Fat Tuesday.

Click here to read this interesting article about Mardi Gras masks.

Thanks for visiting. Feel free to comment below.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Delicious New Orleans Tradition, Jambalaya

One of the things I love about New Orleans, whether it's Mardi Gras or any other time of year is the incredible cuisine. Jambalaya is one of my favorite dishes. I've had it in other places besides The Big Easy, but I'm telling just ain't the same!!! ;0) Jambalaya is a native Creole and Cajun dish. The name is thought to have derived from the French word for ham "jambon", along with the word "ya" which in many West African languages refers to rice.
For the uninitiated jambalaya is a one pot dish with a variety of tasty ingredients. You start out with crawfish, which are fresh water bayou shellfish, they look a lot like a small lobster; rice, tomatoes, andouille sausage (which is nice and spicy), chicken, onions, shrimp and more.
Check out this video on how to make jambalaya...yeeaaah! Mmmmmmm!

Thanks for visiting. Feel free to comment below.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Poll: What's Your Favorite Thing About Mardi Gras?

Just for fun, vote on the Mardi Gras Poll below, one vote per day!

What's Your Favorite Thing About Mardi Gras? free polls

You can also click this link to share the poll and comment:

Thanks for visiting!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Monday, October 29, 2012

Join The Krewe Of Freret Now For Mardi Gras 2013

I was contacted through Twitter by a representative of the Krewe of Freret suggesting a post on how to join their krewe. Since my blog is about all things Mardi Gras, here it is!
The Krewe of Freret consists mainly, but not exclusively, of Tulane and Loyola graduates as well as business owners. It's a co-ed organization that welcomes those who are locals and non-locals interested in continuing the Mardi Gras tradition.
The original Krewe of Freret was actually disbanded in the 1990's. In 2011 seven Loyola graduates wanted to have their own krewe which included friends, associates and others who wanted to participate in a krewe where they would have input regarding the activities. They decided to resurrect this krewe that had been part of the community for many years in keeping with the neighborhood's commercial revitalization.
They will be riding down St. Charles Avenue, in the Uptown section of New Orleans. Membership includes riding in the parade on floats with brass bands and of course plenty of beads.
Click here to visit the Krewe of Freret website for more details. You'll also find the application for membership to join the krewe!
Thanks for visiting! Feel free to leave comments below.
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Backstreet Cultural Museum In New Orleans

There are so many cultural treasures in New Orleans and one of my favorites is the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Faubourg Treme. Faubourg is French for district or neighborhood outside of the city limits. The Backstreet Cultural Museum offers an extensive selection of Mardi Gras Indian suits as well as costumes worn by some of the original New Orleans brass bands and social aid and pleasure club members throughout the years.
Photographs, videos, collections and exhibits provide an inside look into the African American culture in New Orleans.

During my travels to New Orleans for Mardi Gras that year I was told about the museum by some hotel staff, so I decided to check it out. While I was there I was able to take pictures of some of the displays. Also I had the pleasure to be able to speak to the founder of the museum, Sylvestor Francis, who opened it's doors in 1999. Several years ago he was a member of the Gentlemen of Leisure Social Aid And Pleasure Club.

He originally started gathering collectibles from the Mardi Gras Indians, brass bands and social clubs. Because of his love of the African American Mardi Gras culture in Treme, he gave pictures to anyone who participated in parades that he photographed. He was rewarded for his generosity when people who he gave photographs to started giving him costumes, suits and keepsakes.

The picture below is of Sylvestor Francis in the museum.

He took time to discuss the museum displays and their history. Also he had me watch a documentary called "All In A Mardi Gras Day" which I purchased a copy of. It's a great reference for anyone interested in the African American Mardi Gras culture in New Orleans. It covers the Mardi Gras Indians, Zulu Krewe, Skull and Bone Gang and lots more.

Click here to view The Backstreet Cultural Museum website. You'll find information on exhibitions, community programs and hours of operation.

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did sharing it. Feel free to leave comments below.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Mardi Gras Indians, First African American Mardi Gras Krewe

You won't see them with the rest of the krewes and walking clubs during the Mardi Gras celebrations.That's because they don't hang out around Canal Street near the French Quarter or Uptown near St. Charles Avenue where all the other krewes parade. I admit, because I didn't know the schedule until late last year, I still haven't seen them perform myself. You may be able to see them at the Jazz and Heritage Festivals if you don't catch them on Mardi Gras Day, St. Joseph's Day or a Super Sunday. I'm referring to the Mardi Gras Indians, the oldest African American Mardi Gras Krewe.

The Mardi Gras Indians mask in the historically African American neighborhood of Treme in New Orleans and make stops at different local restaurants and taverns in the community. Since African Americans were not included in the earlier Mardi Gras parades, they created their own celebrations within their neighborhoods.

You can contact the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme for information on the schedule, which is where I found out a lot about the history. This amazing African American cultural tradition goes back to the early 1800's with the Creole Wild West shows. Native Americans were credited with assisting African Americans during slavery and this was a way to pay homage.

The costumes, called suits, are made of not only feathers but also intricate bead work. They take about a year to make and weigh at least 100 pounds. They also don't wear the same one twice. The downtown suits are made more of feathers indicative of Native American tribes and the uptown costumes are more reminiscent of West African beading traditions.

The amazing picture displayed on this post is of the Cheyenne Gang. Photo credit goes to Perry Braniff, Sr.

*** Click here also for more information on the Mardi Gras Indians.

Thanks for visiting. There is so much more to the Mardi Gras Indian culture than what's covered on this post. If you'd like me to add more about information about this topic on the blog please let me know by posting your comments below.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Mardi Gras Krewe Of Orpheus

The Krewe of Orpheus is one of the newer additions to the Mardi Gras Carnival Parade. It was founded in 1993 by musician and native of New Orleans, Harry Connick, Jr. His father, Harry Connick, Sr. is also a member and is currently president. Orpheus takes it's name from the mythological Greek god of music. Traditionally their parade route goes through the Uptown section of New Orleans.
They start loading the floats on Lundi Gras Day (the day before Fat Tuesday) with tons of beads and other throws and start parading that evening.

One of the differences between Orpheus and many other krewes is their open membership. Most krewes are closed social groups, but Orpheus has stated that they accept members regardless of race or gender. 

The krewe also has Celebrity Monarchs every year that participate in the parade and ride on their floats. Entertainers including Forest Whitaker, Stevie Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg, Cyndi Lauper, Bret Michaels and Sandra Bullock are just a few that have rode with the krewe during Mardi Gras celebrations.

Click here to find out more about the Krewe of Orpheus.

Feel free to leave comments below!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How To Catch Mardi Gras Beads Without Losing Your Shirt

There are lots of videos around showing women flashing their breasts in order to get Mardi Gras beads. That seems to be an extreme way to get some plastic trinkets thrown at you, in my opinion. But anyone who's been to a Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans will surely tell you, there are beads being worn by everyone, of so many shapes, styles and color in addition to the traditional purple, green and gold. But you don't have to show any skin to get them.

Although Mardi Gras street parades started around the early 1800's when the King of Carnival, Rex was created, the tradition of beads, doubloons (large coins), cups, and sometimes stuffed animals, called throws being tossed into the crowds from riders on floats did not start until much later. Beads which started out as glass necklaces, were offered to the crowds around 1870.

Throws are definitely a component of the Mardi Gras experience and have now been a regular part of each krewe's signature. There are about 60 Mardi Gras krewes, which are social organizations that participate in the parades. Some have throws with their krewe logo, and the fun is in seeing what they have that's different every year.

*** Catching Mardi Gras beads can be done without removing any articles of clothing. I have attended 2 Mardi Gras celebrations to date and came back home each time with bags full of beads; and I never flashed to get any.

Here are my tips for catching beads that are easy and won't have you humiliate yourself or get you arrested:

* The old technique of waving your hands in the air and yelling "Throw me something, Mister!" still works. Try to make eye contact with the float rider and if you flash anything, make it a smile!

* Look up always, don't try to pick up anything that hits the ground when the floats are going by. The crowds are pretty thick, people are likely to step on you. Besides there's plenty more on other floats.

* Pay attention to packs of beads betting tossed, these are great when you get them, but watch out, they can hurt if they hit you. Saw that happen to someone next to me in a parade...ouch!

* Last, but not least, find out where the parade route ends, especially on parades that are in the early part of the day. The krewes may still have throws and they don't want to carry them around now. They'll gladly give you their stash.

If you ever go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, relax and have fun, there's a lot to see and experience. The music, food, parades and culture are memorable. I think everyone should do it at least once in their life, there's nothing like it!

*** And make sure you have a bag for all the beads you're going to catch! :0)

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Support This Film Project Featuring New Orleans Marching Bands: The Whole Gritty City

The New Orleans  marching bands have been a part of not only the city's multi-faceted music history, but African American culture as well. The tradition of the brass bands go back well into the 1800's and have been the backdrop for practically everything New Orleans from parties to Mardi Gras parades to funerals. The brass bands have also been an integral part of college and high school campus life.
Within the New Orleans community the high school brass bands carry on the tradition in the midst of inner city violence and distress in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's disruption. The creators of the independent documentary The Whole Gritty City is currently seeking funding for their film. The production shows the mentors of these students supporting these children by passing down a musical legacy. The importance of the tradition is not only in keeping the music of the brass bands alive through the next generation but also the children's character and spirits strong amidst the dramas they face.
Thanks for visiting. Please click here to help fund this project. Minimum pledge is only $1. They are almost halfway through to the $50,000 needed. All pledges must be received by October 10, 2012.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, September 22, 2012

History Of The Zulu Social Aid And Pleasure Club

In the early 1900's a group of African American laborers created a Social or Benevolent Aid Society which eventually came to be called the Zulus. These organizations were set up for African American residents of New Orleans where they could pay dues in order to be able to arrange for funeral costs. These societies were known to offer them the earliest forms of insurance.
The Krewe of Zulu was originally created as a mockery of Rex, the King of Carnival, since African Americans were not included in these parades. The Zulu's first King, William Story, wore ragged clothes and a crown made out of a lard can while carrying a banana stalk scepter. He was accompanied by a quartet, and in 1915 they created their first parade floats.

The most famous King of the Krewe of Zulu was Louis Armstong in 1949, who participated in their first celebrity march.

Still the most popular of all the throws given out during Mardi Gras is the Zulu Coconut, also called the "Golden Nugget". The krewe started handing them out to the crowds around 1910, then in their natural furry state. Some years later they were scraped off and painted.

During the 1960's the krewe lost popularity since during the Civil Rights era the act of the Zulus parading in blackface and grass skirts was seen as demeaning to the African American community.  Many organizations protested against the krewe and their members began to dwindle.

The loyalty of the Zulu members has kept the organization alive. They have grown back in large numbers and are heavily involved in donating their time as well as funds to local schools and charities.

The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club is the second oldest African American krewe and the oldest in the main Carnival Parade. The Krewe of Zulu consists of African American men from all walks of life and professions, from laborers to politicians and is known for it's many community contributions.

Click here to visit this site for more on the history of the Krewe of Zulu.

You can post any questions or comments below. Thanks for visiting!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Mardi Gras Krewes

A krewe is a group of individuals that participates in Mardi Gras parades, balls and other related activities. This tradition in New Orleans goes back to the 1800's. Krewes that were formed during that time include Rex, Comus and Proteus. These organizations offered businessmen of those times good connections and credentials.
There are currently dozens of krewes and more are created each year. Some krewes are more exclusive, the members mostly include family members and friends. Others are more open to anyone who can pay the fees and agree to participate. Fees for annual krewe membership can run from less than 100 dollars to thousands depending on the how elaborate floats and costumes are. The more expensive fees can also cover outsourcing of the krewe's costume design as well as Mardi Gras parade float construction.

The krewe of the Phunny Phorty Phellows starts off the Carnival Season each year on January 6, the Twelth Night. Although krewes all have different rules, their main purpose is to celebrate Mardi Gras through sponsoring parades and balls. Although it's great to be part of a Mardi Gras parade, it's more to it than just fun and partying.

Click here to read the article Confessions Of A Mardi Gras Krewe Captain

It's amazing to me how the krewes put together all the festive arrangements for Mardi Gras year after year. The work including the planning gets started for the next year soon after the current year's celebrations have ended.

Click here for more information on the history and themes of some of the Mardi Gras Krewes.

Stay tuned for more posts on some of the krewes.

Feel free to leave comments or questions. Thanks for reading!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Glen David Andrews Continues The Amazing Music Tradition In New Orleans

This is not really a post about Mardi Gras, but in another sense it is. If you know anything at all about New Orleans, you know the music is a big part of the Mardi Gras celebration as well as any of the festivals in the area.

 A few years back, before Hurricane Katrina, I was hanging out in Jackson Square in New Orleans. Jackson Square is located in the famous French Quarter, surrounded by ornate historic buildings. It has long been a haven for artists of every type, particularly musicians and painters.

On this particular day I was fortunate enough to hear the incredible artist Glen Davis Andrews, native of New Orleans who grew up in the Treme section of New Orleans. Treme is known to be one of the oldest as well as one of the most important historic neighborhoods in the country for African American culture.

I purchased an original CD from him during his performance in Jackson Square years ago and it's a special addition to my music collection. Check out some of his more recent releases below as well.

What struck me immediately about Glen David Andrews' performance was it's uniqueness, but also the similarity to the great Louis Armstrong in his trombone playing as well as vocals. His background includes membership in the New Birth Brass Band and Olympia Brass Band. Glen's rendition of "The Saints Go Marching In" was soulful and energetic. You can tell he not only loves the music, but also the traditions of New Orleans.

Check out the video from one of his performances at the Louisiana Music Factory.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to leave comments.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Friday, September 7, 2012

King Cake, The Traditional Mardi Gras Dessert

Mardi Gras day is the last day of the Carnival Season. It begins on January 6, twelve nights after Christmas, which is referred to as the Catholic's King Day, Three Kings Day or Feast of the Epiphany. 

This is believed to be the day the Three Kings visited Jesus and brought gifts of frankincense and myrrh. In celebration bakeries begin making and selling King Cakes during this time. 

It's like a big cinnamon roll with the Mardi Gras colors, purple, green and gold, sprinkled in sugar on top and an assortment of fillings. A small baby doll is baked inside the cake which represents the baby Jesus.

 People have King Cake Parties, they also share them at work and school. The tradition is that the person who gets the baby in their piece of the King cake has to buy one for the next party.
It'a a popular dessert and thousands of King Cakes are eaten during the holiday season. The King Cake goes back to the 18th century when the French and Spanish brought the tradition to the United States.

Check out the video for a demonstration on how King Cakes are made. Click here to view it now.

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to leave comments.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Purple, Gold And Green Are The Official Mardi Gras Colors, But What Do They Mean?

During the Mardi Gras Season you'll see the traditional color combination of purple, gold and green practically everywhere in New Orleans. Hotels, restaurants, stores, visitors as well as locals will be decked out with beads, clothing and just about anything else you can think of in the official colors.   
As far as the history of this tradition, it is said that the Krewe of Rex (Rex is the King of Carnival) allowed the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia to select the Mardi Gras Colors in 1872 during the Duke's visit to New Orleans. They also became the official colors of the House of Romanoff.

Purple  - Represents Justice
Green - Represents Faith

Gold - Represents Power

It was during the 1892 Rex Parade that the meaning of the colors was declared through the theme "Symbolism of Colors".
Click here to view this link for more details on Mardi Gras colors.
So make sure when you're in Nawlins during Mardi Gras that you wear the colors, even if it's just a few strands of beads. You'll fit right in!
Thanks for visiting! Feel free to leave comments below.
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Little Bit Of Mardi Gras History

Mardi Gras is an annual holiday celebrated in New Orleans, Louisiana and through out the neighboring counties and Gulf Coast. It starts on January 6 and ends on Mardi Gras Day otherwise known as Fat Tuesday.
The tradition actually goes all the way back to the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. From Rome and Venice it then went on to France, then was taken on to the French colonies.

In the 1740's the governor of Louisiana, Marquis de Vaudreil presided over grand society balls for celebrations, similar to the balls held in the present day.

In 1872 Rex was created by some local businessmen and crowned as The King Of Carnival to reign over the first Mardi Gras daytime parade.

Secret societies were formed that would put together parade floats and entertainment. These are the predecessors of today's Mardi Gras krewes. Krewes are a group of people who come together to participate in the parades in costumes with floats and have a section in the parade.

In 1894, the first Black Mardi Gras krewe was formed, called the Original Illinois Club.

Mardi Gras coincides with the Carnival season and ends before Ash Wednesday and the Catholic tradition of Lent. It is a fun, sometimes raucous celebration before the time of fasting and prayer prior to Easter.

Click here for more Mardi Gras history!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave comments below.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mardi Gras Day Is Different Every Year

Make sure before you book your travel for Mardi Gras that you have the correct date. Mardi Gras Day always falls right before Ash Wednesday, so the date changes each year along with the Easter holiday. Click here to view the New Orleans Official Tourism Site that shows the exact dates of Mardi Gras Day for the next several years through to 2027.
Mardi Gras 2013 will fall on Tuesday, February, 12, so start getting ready! Remember to always arrive a few days in advance since Fat Tuesday is the last day of the celebration!
Feel free to leave comments, thanks for reading.
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mardi Gras May Not Be What You Think

Most people who hear about Mardi Gras in New Orleans think it's mainly an out of control "Girls Gone Wild" celebration in the streets of the French Quarter. Although Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) does embrace the ultimate in wildness and over the top partying, that's not the whole story.
There are lots of parades, and beads and coins (called throws) tossed to the anxious crowds that line the sidewalks. The most extreme celebrations tend to be concentrated on Bourbon Street. So if that's what you're looking for, that's the place to be.

The rest of the French Quarter, Canal Street and throughout the Central Business and Warehouse Districts host parades with krewe members in costumes riding along floats. Lots of local schools have bands and dancers performing as well. Most of the entertainment and activities are a lot more tame than they're usually described, but lots of fun!

I've been to 2 Mardi Gras celebrations so far and have had a great time. New Orleans to me is such an amazing city...the jazz and zydeco music blasting from clubs as you walk along the streets in the Quarter, wonderful achitecture, delicious food like jambalaya and the best fried catfish I ever had, and of course the people. I always feel at home there, New Orleanians tend to be straight forward, down to earth people who want you to enjoy their city.

Speaking of amazing fried catfish I just HAVE to give a shout out to Two Sisters Kitchen, 223 N. Derbigny St., NOLA. 504-524-0056. Great food, great prices! OK, enough about about food for now! :0)

If you plan to attend the festivities try to come  within the last 3-4 weeks of Fat Tuesday. The Mardi Gras celebrations start January 6 which is The Feast of the Epiphany and the last day is Mardi Gras Day which is always the day before Ash Wednesday.

If you show up on Mardi Gras Day that's the last day of the celebration until next year!

Have you been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras or thinking about it? Feel free to share by posting a comment below.

Thanks for visiting!
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ate An Alligator In New Orleans

February of last year my cousin and I returned to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We hung out in the French Quarter quite a bit, this is one of her pics of the area featured here, and decided to have dinner at the Riverfront Restaurant on Decatur Street. It took awhile to choose from the many dining options but one thing I noticed on their menu posted in the window that I hadn't tried yet! Alligator!
I ordered Alligator Bites as an appetizer. They come either fried or blackened, I chose to have them blackened. Pretty tasty, a savory and very slight gamey taste. I'd heard from people that it tasted like chicken, I think it has it's own distinct flavor. The texture was tender but a little chewier than chicken. Also I had what they call Taste of New Orleans - A trio of the city’s very best dishes — chicken and sausage gumbo, crawfish étouffée and jambalaya. All the best, all on one plate! (From their menu description!) Enjoyed my dinner along with the traditional drink of New Orleans, a Hurricane.
If you ever find yourself wandering around on Decatur Street, check it out.
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Welcome To The Mardi Gras Girl Blog!

Hi, I’m Sondra Carpenter, the self-proclaimed Mardi Gras Girl! After 4 trips to date to New Orleans, 2 of which were during Mardi Gras Season, I decided to create this blog as a travel journal.

You’ll find some details on my travel experiences, plus information about Mardi Gras (which by the way is French for Fat Tuesday), and the many things to see, do and eat in The Big Easy.

So whether you’re new to Mardi Gras and Nawlins, or you’ve been and can’t wait to get back like me, stay tuned and enjoy! 

And as they say – “Laissez les bons temps rouler” – pronounced (Lazay-Lay Bon-Tom Roulay)
which means Let The Good Times Roll!

Sondra Carpenter  
The Mardi Gras Girl