My first time was pretty similar to most other people’s experiences. I was anxious and excited, hoping that all my expectations would be met, if not exceeded. When it finally happened, I was overwhelmed with emotion and anticipation, not wanting to miss a moment. The music, crowds, floats – that’s right; I’m a freshman at Tulane, and just attended my first parade of the season, Krewe Du Vieux. My friends and I decided to go to Frenchman Street to watch; happiness radiated throughout the crowd as we took in the one-of-a-kind costumes, knowing this night would be an unforgettable one.
The last parade I went to was at Disney World, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Walking along the parade route, I closed my eyes and listened; jazz music flooded the streets as people danced and celebrated. I sometimes tend to shut down in high-intensity situations like this one. I have also regularly experienced anxiety in the midst of big crowds, so I was a little surprised at how comfortable I felt. Everyone was respectful, and groups of friends even offered to trade places with me so I could move closer to the action. People all around were helping others. We were all united under the green, purple, and yellow lights.
Despite any joy I felt after the parade, I am a naturally anxious person and still feel a bit apprehensive about the next two weeks. That being said, I’ve talked to upperclassmen who have assured me that Mardi Gras can be fully celebrated on and around Tulane’s campus. Parade routes head uptown, and campus can be the perfect place to participate if going downtown feels too overwhelming. Mardi Gras has no boundaries; from the dorms to Broadway Street and the French Quarter, the whole city of New Orleans will join together in celebration.
I believe that this year’s Mardi Gras has special significance. Since March of 2020, celebrations and large gatherings were impossible to safely participate in. We didn’t know the next time we would be able to celebrate Mardi Gras the way it has historically been celebrated. For over a year, we had drive-by birthday parties, socially distanced holidays, and virtual ceremonies. Now, almost two years later, we’re back face-to-face once again. To be honest, I can’t imagine my first time going any other way.
Cover photo: Madison Grenauer (The Crescent Graphic Design Team)
Bailey is the Assistant Editor for College Life. She is a Sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management and minoring in Psychology. She loves to write about her experiences and give advice to her peers. When she isn't writing, you can find her at Riley or her favorite New Orleans restaurant Satsuma.