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