Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Last year we were in New Orleans as neighborhoods donned their traditional Mardi Gras attire.

We wandered the streets of the Garden District, strolled Magazine Street and the Irish Channel, then wove our way through Uptown and savored the ambience.

Today we’re in Morelia, Mexico where they are gearing up for Carnival. We’re not sure what to expect, but we’re looking forward to the festivities.

Remember to Laissez les bons temps rouler!
James & Terri


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

47 thoughts

  1. Oh! What a lovely tradition, they are beautiful! I wish more people decorated doors in Australia, here, we are one of the few houses in the street that even hangs a wreath at Christmas time.

    1. How interesting. I guess in the USA we tend to decorate just about anything – doors, mailboxes, etc. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it sure is fun and festive! 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Rusha, we moved to NOLA for our first jobs right out of college. We were thoroughly, and I mean thoroughly, into New Orleans and Mardi Gras. It was a wonderful experience, and a perfect way to start our life together. ~ Terri

  2. They just had the Carnival Parade here in Torrevieja. It seems to me that wherever there is a high percentage of Catholics, there are some incredible celebrations going into the Lenten season. I hope you have a great time! – Mike

    1. Thanks Mike! It seems you’re right about the ties to Catholicism – and I’m fascinated by all the different interpretations of Carnival around the world. We are learning that here in Morelia it’s all about kids and little bulls – torritos! That’s a new one for us. How do they celebrate there in Torrevieja? ~Terri

      1. The Carnival here in Torrevieja was several weeks long with weekend activities for the young (fairs w/ face painting, games for the kids, etc.). The final week commenced with a parade through town with floats, bands and fancy costumes. The final day was a torchlight parade that retraced the daytime parade route in the reverse direction. The schedule published in the local papers indicated there was something going on just about every day. I think what struck me was that the whole celebration was not commercialized (like the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl or the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show).

    1. Tess, we moved to New Orleans right out of college and loved it. We’ve always joked that we had to move away to recover from all the good times! 🙂 It’s a beautiful place with a very free spirit. ~Terri

      1. About ten years ago I sister drove through New Orleans. She went into a bar or cafe for refreshment. Back on the road, about an hour or was it two, later, she realized she’d left her wallet behind. What to do? She drove back expecting the worst. Her wallet had been saved and returned to her intact. Wow.

    1. Thanks so much. The children here in Morelia are totally wound up from all the festivities. I guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow on “Fat Tuesday.” 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Jo, we did several Mardi Gras when we lived in New Orleans in our 20s and it was such a blast. James and I made costumes and went to all the parades yelling, ” Throw me something, Mister!” (hoping for some really stunning beads). I was a special education teacher in those days, so every day leading up to Mardi Gras I brought a “King Cake” to class – it was always fun to see who “got the baby” in their piece because that meant I wouldn’t give them any homework that day. And when any of my kids saw me at the parades they got a big kick out of it. 🙂 ~Terri

      1. A King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras pastry – yeasty, slightly sweet, baked in a large ring shape and glazed with purple, gold and green icing (the colors of Mardi Gras). Inside it, a small plastic baby has been hidden and (traditionally) whoever gets it in their piece has to buy the next King Cake.

    1. Right back atcha Mike! And what a great idea to listen to WWOZ. We’re in Morelia, Mexico where things are really starting to heat up … But we’re not sure for what. We ask and people respond “Los Torritos” ( little bulls). I guess we’ll find out. 🙂 ~Terri

  3. These are so beautiful. We were in Mobile, AL just before Mardi Gras, and they were very quick to tell us that they founded it, New Orleans stole it, and took the credit. 🙂 One of the conversations I overheard was that people leave up their Christmas trees, and redecorate them for Mardi Gras. That’s when I realized that this is a celebration that I could really get into – for both practical, lazy reasons, and for the fun of it! 😉

    1. Anita, that is so funny. I hadn’t heard the Christmas tree story. But I do remember that when we were in Mobile just before Mardi Gras, the garlands around the doors did look a lot like Christmas garlands. 😉 ~Terri

    1. LuAnn, when we lived in NOLA, door decorations weren’t a big deal. But loads of people really get into the spirit now, and it’s very cool. Mobile, AL (the site of the first US Mardi Gras), is also big into decorating. ~ Terri

      1. Thanks Terri. We hope to visit there as well. So many places and hopefully enough time to see them all. 🙂

  4. I ended up at the Mardi Gras once… and didn’t even know it was happening until I arrived. 🙂 I had flown down from Alaska for a conference in Mobile and added a few days in NOLA as an afterthought. Surprise! I loved the parades and pageantry but was a little overwhelmed by the crowds. It wasn’t Anchorage in the middle of winter, that’s for sure. –Curt

    1. Curt, that’s amazing! And Mobile also hosts quite a Mardi Gras celebration, too. I guess you got a double dose. Of course given your love of Burning Man, you probably fit right in. 🙂 We moved there straight out of college and were certainly rubes when it came to the crowds and revelry, but we adapted … quickly. ~Terri

    1. Thanks for the comment Jess (X2), and thanks for dropping by the blog. We lived a couple of years in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) and it’s still one of our favorite places around. In fact, we went back on each of our last birthdays, and rented an apartment in the Garden District. It was wonderful to re-visit all our favorite places. ~James

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