The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Mardi Gras parades give more than beads

New Orleans, Louisiana, also known as “N’awlins” or “NOLA” to the locals, is unlike any place I’ve ever been to before. I travelled down to the Big Easy with only expectation, pounding out the most fun I could within the seven days I was there. Mission accomplished.

Theresa Pfister, a&l editor

Luckily, spring break coincided with the city’s Mardi Gras celebrations, which meant the town slips into ultimate party mode until Ash Wednesday.

I experienced my first Mardi Gras parade last Saturday night, the day I got into town, and it was insane. Massive amounts of people line the street that stretches from Uptown to Downtown, the distance of about five miles. The parades were definitely the highlights of the trip. They happen throughout the day and night, and everyone goes to them.

Beads, of course, are what everyone is after, and I learned the method of getting the best ones. No, I didn’t flash. Ever. Take my word for it,that is actually more of a hyped up idea of New Orleans than what actually happens, and I spent a decent amount on the famous Bourbon Street.

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Anyways, the key to getting beads is waving your hands crazily in the air to get the people throwing beads on the float’s attention, making eye contact and pointing at them and smiling as big as you can, worked for me at least. The beads have somewhat of a class system too, ranging from small to ones as big as golf balls. The best ones to get are the medallion style ones that have the parade or “krewe,” name on them, which is the group who puts on the parade.

I was actually able to be on both sides of the bead experience though, and threw beads off of the Coast Guard float in an evening parade. It sounds egotistical, but I seriously felt like a rock star; thousands of people are hollering at you and begging for beads, thanking you with a thumbs up and a huge smile.

It honestly was such a good feeling being able to put a smile on so many people’s faces just from throwing some multi-colored beads to them. One of the funniest things that happened to me on the trip, among many, was the night on the float. I wore a bright pink top that had Coast Guard printed in bold white letters across the chest, and some man saluted me and yelled, “thank you for your service” to me. Obviously I’m not in the Coast Guard, so I had to laugh inside.

The parades provide more than entertainment and free souvenirs. The krewes sponsor local and regional middle school and high school marching bands and dance teams to participate in the parades, and this, in turn, provides monetary funds to keep the music programs alive and active at each individual school. The bands sounded really good too. It was awesome seeing so many young people involved with their school, and having a good time doing it.

The parades created such a strong feeling of community; families, college students, retirees, everyone comes together to celebrate. Everyone’s excited, having a good time and is ultimately happy. The respect I witnessed that the people of the city had for one another was unmatched. I never saw a fight break out or any sort of dispute happen between anyone. Southern hospitality really does exist, even with a legal open container policy.


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