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What’s It Like Being in a New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade? – Part Two

<This is a continuation from <<—Part One>

Out of the crowd I see a cousin and I hand him one of the tokens and we have only a few seconds to talk. He asks me which float my brother is on. I know he’s behind us and I tell him so as the parade moves on.

What’s It Like Being in a New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade? – Part Two

Catching beads at Gallier Hall - New Orleans Mardi Gras

Catching beads at Gallier Hall – New Orleans Mardi Gras

Now it’s on to Superior Grill where the college student crowd seems to be the most thick. More cheering and reaching out, the sound deafening, more happy faces, more smiling, laughing, applauding.

Now the next place to look out for is where my family and their friends are, a spot in front of a building they’ve rented for carnival season for decades. We break into a dance right before we get there and when we pass the spot I’m able to pick out two nephews one of which I break through the crowd and hand a token to.

As I jump back into line I see my sister-in-law and my girlfriend right next to me both grinning ear to ear. And the parade moves on.

It’s amazing really that you only have a few moments at each spot to really see anyone. You are moving so fast you’re able to just catch glimpses if at all.

By the time we get to Jackson Avenue the crowds have thinned out a little bit but they are still thick. My big toes are beginning to hurt from one of the dance steps that during rehearsal we had practiced stationary but have to change it to a moving forward step which is making it feel like big blisters are forming. I wonder what the heck my feet will look like when I take off my shoes at the end.

The parade is moving quicker than we thought. And we are all thankful that we have not had long stops as we’ve had in prior years. We pass The Avenue Pub and out of the crowd I see an old friend and we shake hands quickly in between my dance steps.

We head into Lee Circle and we’ve been dancing for about three hours now. Some of us are beat and we know that we are close to the reviewing stand at Gallier Hall so it’s time to gather all the energy and strength and crisp dance steps we can muster. I’m feeling good and no worse for wear except for the pains in my big toes.

I’m hoping that it isn’t my toenails because the first year of my dancing with this group when I took off my shoes at the end the nail on my right big toe was black, fell off a few days later and took months for it to get back to normal.

We round Lee Circle and turn right and back onto St. Charles Avenue, the crowd mostly in stands above us on either side cheering as we break into our dance. I see people waving and laughing reaching out trying to touch us.

Finally, we make it to the reviewing stand in front of Gallier Hall where politicians, dignitaries and celebrities are gathered. We break into our now familiar dance with everyone in our group doing their best to be at the top of their game.

I usually like to get in the very front of the group on the right hand side. I know this is where the TV cameras will be and since I am one of the better dancers I help to inspire some of those behind me who may be a little lacking in the dancing ability department. Hey, I’m a pretty good dancer and a showoff, what can I say.

Read <<<—Part One —Go on to Part Three —>>>

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