Although Rex is one of the most prestigious parades of the season, the smaller groups tend to be more laid back and just downright fun…

And those parading are free to dress in any style they wish…

With the arrival of so many other Irishmen, I am wasting little time lining up the ladies for “lucky Saint Pat’s smooches”…

And celebrate whatever tickles their fancy, such as the necessary alignment of the moon and stars for the Saints to ever get into a Super Bowl, much less actually win the damn thing…

But the cold weather did little to dampen the spirits of the crowds creeping ever so slowly through the French Quarter and along Bourbon Street…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “The fat old guy always ends up with the prettiest girl”!!  See y’all later.  Hugs, Chuck and Kalynj O’Bryan

(Nope, I didn’t spell the Bride’s name incorrectly by accident.  That’s her entire name, Kalyn Jo Bryan, Irishfied for the season.)  

Cold weather doesn’t really have that much impact on folks who are running on 100 proof and squeezed together like a size 10 foot in a size 3 shoe.   It is difficult to believe that you can actually cram this much humanity together in such a small area without some conflict but, according to the New Orleans Police Department there was only one shooting on Mardi Gras Day and it was ruled accidental.  That’s not bad for a city accustomed to several shootings on a normal day and a gun related death nearly every other day.  The officers we spoke with claimed the people were still experiencing the euphoria of the Saint’s victory and were just too damn happy to cause any trouble! And the length to which some folks will go in supporting the home team is pretty amazing…

However, with Saint Paddy’s Day just a couple of weeks away, folks are already arriving by the boatload from as far away as Ireland to participate in the festivities (check out the name of this ship)…

Mardi Gras day presented another of those arctic adventures we have been experiencing of late and parade spectators of all ages were pretty well bundled up throughout most of the morning…

Whilst checking out the newest exhibit at the Audubon Nature Center …

Other than a fancy sign, there is very little to see or do in Grand Isle this time of year unless, of course, you just enjoy mingling with folks who are quite proud of their heritage and don’t mind saying so…

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, marks the last day of the Carnival Season and is the final celebration of food, frivolity and wantonness before Lent.   In New Orleans it is the day that the better known and most extravagant of the Krewes assemble and parade through the streets of the city.   With parades beginning at 8am, overlapping and running well into the afternoon, it is impossible to see all of them so folks tend to get to a location where they can see as many as possible without the need to fight their way through 1000 square blocks of gridlock to see another one.   We missed one of the better events, Zulu, in favor of seeing Rex, “the King of Carnival” and several other Krewes and Second Line groups who were using the same parade route beginning in the Garden District…

There are various stories regarding just how the southern Louisiana Cajuns became known as coonasses.   The most popular version has its roots in the eighteenth century when the newly arrived Acadians would hunt and trap raccoons and make hats out of the pelts.   The raccoon’s face went on the front and…well, you can guess what went on the back.   Hence the name.  Meantime, we are once again enjoying leisurely uncluttered strolls along the Mississippi…

As hard to imagine as it may be, this is but a scant showing of the accumulated wealth my bride now enjoys after nearly six weeks of begging and pleading, “Throw me sumthin, Mistah!!”  Guess who has been tasked with finding a place to store all this booty?!  I'm beginning to feel like one of Blackbeard's pirates burying the "treasure."  For Lent this year we have both given up parades!  The end of Carnival heralded a return to “normalcy” in the “Quatah” as represented by smaller crowds on Bourbon Street and the ability to get a table in a restaurant without a two hour wait on a sidewalk in sub zero temperatures standing sardine-like between one guy comfortably asleep on your shoulder, snoring in your ear, and another that is primed to hurl on your shoes.   It also provided a much needed break in the action and the opportunity for us to head south and explore coonass country around Houma and Grand Isle…

  Mardi Gras                                                                   March 6, 2010

My bride closed out the Carnival season by separating, according to color and size, her booty of beads, doubloons, stuffed animals and other assorted throws she had accumulated during the 18 parades we attended…