Mardi Gras (Kids) Parade 1/2

On our first year traveling we wanted to visit New Orleans, but the weather was horrible and by the time we waited for it to improve the Mardi Gras season was ramping up. To be frank, we were intimidated by it. We knew we didn’t want to expose our kids to the bawdy side of the event, so skipped past vowing to return again some time.

This past Thanksgiving was that time, when we saw the French Quarter, heard some live Jazz, had our Beignets and Chicory coffee, and ate Muffalettas.  We also learned more about Mardi Gras from some locals, who told us that there were multiple parades and they weren’t all the tawdry exhibitions of hedonism that the main event looks to be.

We’re on an eastern trek and found ourselves back in New Orleans at the start of Mardi Gras. Today we banked on that deeper knowledge of the festival and went to a children’s parade put on by the Krewe of Little Rascals.

We left early and easily found parking about 1/3 of the way into the parade route. We sat in the truck for a while then headed over, finding a curbside spot. I played hacky-sack with the kids a bit to pass the time, then the parade found us.

It was an odd experience.

We’ve been talking about it as a family since we got back and all noted several things:

  • For us, after making concentrated efforts to simplify and live in a small space with minimal possessions, seeing the crowds all beg for and scramble after the “throws” from the floats just seemed like over-the-top greed in action. The ~9 year old girl next to us collected roughly 60 strings of beads and other stuff and it just made us wonder - what happens to those tomorrow or next week?  But, hey - it’s fun to catch free stuff! We got caught up in it too for a bit (I was hungry and suddenly they were throwing food!)
  • We didn’t see many paraders smiling. Most had expressions that ranged from exhaustion to boredom to actual anger (maybe there is more to this throwing of objects than we realized).
  • The parade was repetitive. Band / dance troop / float pretty much describes 90% of it. The “air-coolers” and “bug parade” vehicles were a welcome relief.
  • We didn’t get to hear many of the bands actually play. Maybe it was just our position on the route.
  • We saw a lot of really tired looking kids (and in a couple cases looking closer to dehydrated and ready to drop) We were concerned for them as there was a lot of parade route left.
  • Our biggest disappointment? This parade featured not one New Orleans style street band. While the dance troops all had kicking systems to dance to, and some of the bands played music, being in New Orleans and big fans of the local music xwe expected at least a little of it to show up in the parade.

So overall while we get check off a “attend Mardi Gras parade” from our family bucket list this particular parade wasn’t all that, and I’m not sure we’ll attempt another. They only run on weekends and we’re scheduled to leave next Friday.

Passing the time and getting a bit of exercise before the parade.

Passing the time and getting a bit of exercise before the parade.

There must have been a dozen of these Meyers Manx buggies

There must have been a dozen of these Meyers Manx buggies

Soldiers in training

Soldiers in training

A band created by..the sheriff's office?

A band created by..the sheriff's office?

Fun horsemen

Fun horsemen

The king and queen - nary a smile from these two

The king and queen - nary a smile from these two

Had to laugh at the butch way of powering a sound system

Had to laugh at the butch way of powering a sound system

Probably the only marching contingent of math and science geeks in the nation

Probably the only marching contingent of math and science geeks in the nation

Throw me something mister!

Throw me something mister!

Our neighbor girl's growing collection of throws

Our neighbor girl's growing collection of throws

Gotta keep that farmville farm going...

Gotta keep that farmville farm going...

Air coolers member

Air coolers member

Curious About the Costs?

Join our newsletter and get our budget numbers.A family of 3. Traveling fulltime in an RV. What's that cost? Join our periodic newsletter and we'll show you our 2016 budget.


No spam ever, pinky-promise.

2 Comments Mardi Gras (Kids) Parade 1/2

  1. Picture of BetsyBetsyFebruary 17, 2014

    Due to our travel schedule and desire to make it to a rocket launch we actually took our kids to a regular Mardi Gras parade.  Our experience was quite different from yours.  We minimized our risks by going right to the beginning of the parade where it went through a neighborhood.  Our logic was that they would have less time to be drunk and there would be less people egging them on.  That logic held.

    We saw TONS of great bands (this Krewe is known for having the best bands), lots of happy smiling faces - some were drunk, but not that many. 

    The boys saw some boobs and penises (not real ones in either case, just people dressed up as giant ones).  We had already warned them so much and had so many conversations about it that they were pretty bored by that part.  They liked the bands.  Nobody acted inappropriately.  There as no nudity - maybe a little extra cleavage, but nothing like you’d see at a beach.  We talked about how it is like Halloween for adults and that these groups do lots of good throughout the year.  On and on we talked about our values, etc.  Seriously though, everyone was SO SO nice and fun.  We heard NO foul language. 

    We had VERY similar reactions to the throws.  We ended up giving up all the beads to fence that had others decorating it already.  The rest of the stuff will be going to Goodwill here in Destin, Florida.  Seriously - the junk?!  Why?  The kids liked the ill-gotten gains of candy though!

    Anyway, we took a chance and we got lucky.  We were fully prepared to bail had it been too inappropriate.  I had walked along the line up before the parade and looked at all the floats and felt pretty good about it.  Hope you get another chance someday.  It was great fun.

  2. Picture of BoyinkBoyinkFebruary 18, 2014

    Thanks Betsy!

    Growing up in a town with a big yearly parade we’ve had our fill I think.  We’ll go into town and catch some of the Jazz we want to hear and avoid the big crowds and traffic.

    We’re heading to FL as well…just slowly..;)

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *