We have some guests staying with us for Mardi Gras this year (I’m talking about you, Martin!). This isn’t really a surprise. We have people stay with us for Mardi Gras every year. We have guests who stay with us for a week or for ten days for Mardi Gras every year. That’s the best way to do Mardi Gras. Really get into it. Every morning, Martin and his lovely bride look more and more shell shocked and blinkered than they did the day before. They have been having a good time and enjoying themselves but even during a regular week New Orleans is sensory overload. Mardi Gras season is New Orleans on steroids.
The New Orleans calendar revolves around Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is what makes New Orleanians tick. New Orleans without Mardi Gras would still be New Orleans, but it would be more like Brighton. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Brighton. It’s beautiful. It’s just no New Orleans. The world is a better place because New Orleans is what it is. New Orleans during Mardi Gras is a bright town. New Orleans is a city that lights up the globe with parades and good cheer. Everyone is happy in New Orleans during Mardi Gras and during every other time of year, too.
La Belle Esplanade, our humble inn, is not really a Mardi Gras destination and the people who stay here thank their lucky stars for that. Imagine staying in the French Quarter or along the parade routes during Mardi Gras season. You would never find a moment’s peace. New Orleans is already a city rich with sensations. During Mardi Gras, in the French Quarter and along St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans is sensory overload. It’s nice to retire to a real neighborhood at night to recollect one’s energies and recharge one’s batteries.
This isn’t to say that no Mardi Gras festivities don’t take place on Esplanade Avenue….
Be careful what you wish for. As I write this, today is Lundi Gras. If you don’t know anything about Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you don’t know anything about Lundi Gras. You don’t know anything about the Sunday before Mardi Gras Day and you don’t know anything about the Endymion parade that rolls on Samedi Gras. And then there was the Friday before Saturday, and the Thursday, before Friday, and the Wednesday before Thursday and then all the other Mardi Gras parades and traditions that came before that. New Orleans is sensory overload.
Welcome to the New Orleans state of mind.
Nobody ever says they are bored in New Orleans. If you are bored in New Orleans, you must be dead—–but even the skeletons dance on Mardi Gras Day.
New Orleans is a city full of magic every day. During Mardi Gras, the magic and activity is dialed up to 11. You will go to bed exhausted by New Orleans’ sensory overload. You’ll will wake up the next morning ready to take on and absorb whatever new surprises New Orleans has to deliver. New Orleans loves you. Really. New Orleans loves you.
If you find yourself bored in New Orleans, you might have a hole in your imagination. If you find yourself overstimulated by all the many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many things New Orleans throws your way like beads off a passing parade float, well, we can’t blame you. New Orleans is sensory overload. New Orleans is good. It can be overwhelming, though. We admit that.
Get into the swing of things and you’ll get along just fine. You don’t need to be at every Mardi Gras parade. Go at your own pace. New Orleans doesn’t judge. New Orleans loves you. Find a place where you want to sit and sip a drink, have a bite to eat, and watch the world go by. Every day is a parade and a pageant in New Orleans, whether it’s official or not. Every day is pleasant in New Orleans. Enjoy New Orleans on your own terms and you’ll leave stuffed full of good memories, the best kind, and these good memories will last you the rest of your life.
Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation, and I, your humble narrator, hope you’ll come share Mardi Gras with us next year the way our British friends, our Californian friends, our Chicagoan friends, and our Quebecois friends are sharing Mardi Gras with us this year. New Orleans is a kaleidoscope of sounds and smells, of sights and tastes, of things that don’t even have words to describe them. New Orleans is sensory overload. Come see for yourself. If you are shell shocked afterward, you’ll be on the plane home with a an exhausted yet contented smile on your face.
À votre santé
La Belle Esplanade
Monday, February 12, 2018: Another parade rolled down Esplanade Avenue at 3:00 this afternoon. It’s Lundi Gras, the day before Mardi Gras. A parade rolled in front of our inn at 9:30 last night. New Orleans is beautiful the way the sun is beautiful. The difference? You can’t spend a week on the sun. New Orleans won’t burn you. New Orleans loves you.