The greatest free show on Earth takes place in the streets of New Orleans, let the parading begin…

It’s the final week of Mardi Gras and you can feel the energy building.

This morning, our toddler insisted on practicing his marching and drumming skills, with his band uniform cape and hat on.  Trust me, I am happy to encourage him in this endeavor, because Mommy likes marching/parading too.

The number one thing to focus on this week is the mantra instilled in me from a long time friend (and you’ve heard me say it here before)… “more participants, less observers!”  So PLEASE while you are out and about this week, be certain to wear your best Mardi Gras attire, join in the fun, and without a doubt – MARCH.  March to the beat of your own drum, your toddlers drum, the Marching 100 drums.  Just get out their in the streets and participate.

Of course there are all the wonderful big Mardi Gras Krewe parades every day through Fat Tuesday with bands galore!  The diversity of the units now marching on the Uptown parade route can be quite humorous. Such as the Rolling Elvi, Pussy Footers, the Sirens, the bearded oysters, 610 Stompers, and on and on and on.  One of my favorites is the Ninth Ward Marching Band.

It’s fun to see them on the Avenue. However, to catch them on the backstreets or the French Quarter is a real treat.  Here, you can fall into the second-line and march along!  Many of these neighborhood-type parades are a little elusive and electic.  So if you hear of one, make that extra effort to check it out.

A few options include: The very adorable KIPP/McDonough 15 Elementary School Mardi Gras parade on Friday, 11 AM starting at Royal and St. Philip Streets in the French Quarter.  Stick around the quarter to catch the Divine Protectors of Endagered Pleasures (DIVA) parade.  The all female club in their hand beaded bustiers begin and end at Arnaud’s Restaurant, Bourbon and Bienville.  The Ninth Ward Marching Band is at its best in their neighborhood parade on Saturday in the daytime starting in the Bywater (details not available at press time – something like that).

Another favorite is the Red Beans and Rice parade on Monday starting at 2PM near Royal and Port Streets in the Marigny.  This parade has grown into a wonderful event, complete with police escort!!  The route is a lot of fun too.  Down beautiful tree-lined Esplanade Avenue by the Quarter and into the Treme.  With a stop at the Candlelight Lounge and ending at Sylvester Francis’ Backstreet Cultural Museum for a street party.

TUESDAY IS THE BIG DAY!  The entire city is bringing their A game.  The number of community/neighborhood parades on this day just makes me overjoyed.  A few highlights are listed below.

Pull on your most comfortable marching shoes and hit the streets.  This is the best day to hit the streets early, too.

6:30 AM for the Irish Club at 2nd and Annunciation, 7:30 AM for Mondo Kayo at 3rd and Magazine, 7:45 AM for Pete Fountain’s Half Fast Walkers at Commander’s, 9:30 for St. Anthony in the Marigny, 10:00 for St. Anne in the Marigny, Noon for Jieux Lieux at the Bridge Lounge, Noon for Cosmic Debris at the Dream Palace (now Blue Nile).

Let’s not forget Mardi Gras Indians all over town.  The gathering spots for Indians continues to be Shakespeare Park (Washington and LaSalle), Second and Dryades, under the Claiborne overpass.  What you really want to see is the Big Chief coming out of his house and the whole tribe singing Indian Red.  A few spots you might chase Indians for their “coming out” are Valence Street near Freret, Second near Barronne, Desoto near Broad.

Whatever you do… get out and about, participate, march, enjoy, be safe and courteous!!!

Much love,

Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans. Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ (and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City.