As campus life finally retains some sense of normalcy, there’s one major thing on everyone’s mind: Mardi Gras. After two long years stripped of all sorts of experiences, a somewhat normal festival season is almost upon us. Parades such as Krewe du Vieux and Krewe of Chewbacchus are already underway. Large crowds of New Orleanians and tourists alike mingle in sparkly outfits, long strands of multi-colored beads taking over the city during festivities.
Despite the excitement, campus life is still inhibited by the ongoing prevalence of COVID-19. Similar to Tulane’s own restrictions, Mayor Cantrell is working with the New Orleans Police Department to alter parade routes for several Krewes, in order to best fit the health and safety needs of the community. Krewes, the organizations that put on the Mardi Gras parades, all have their own unique histories. Tradition is especially important to individuals who have participated in them for many years. Because of this, the altering of parade routes has sparked controversy.
Krewes whose parade routes have been altered this year include Endymion, Rex, and Zulu. Krewe of Endymion rolls Sunday, February 26 at 4:15 pm, and will turn right onto Elks Place/Loyola instead of onto St. Charles. Rex, which rolls on Mardi Gras day at 10:00 am, will start on Napoleon Ave and Carondelet, as opposed to S. Claiborne and Napoleon. Keep in mind, these are just a few examples. It is difficult for anyone without Mardi Gras historical knowledge to fully understand the cultural consequences of all the logistical changes that have been put in place.
In addition to the rerouted parades, COVID-19 also presents a unique challenge to our health and wellness during Mardi Gras. During a holiday which is already exhausting, taking care of ourselves is even more crucial than ever before. Being an experienced Mardi Gras-goer, I am here to offer some words of advice to get you through Mardi Gras in one piece.
First and foremost, carry around a fanny pack or a small backpack with essentials. Make sure to include snacks such as protein bars, fruits, or anything you consider to be sufficient on-the-go fuel. Covid-safety tools such as face masks, hand sanitizer, and other hygiene products are also a must. Loose cash is crucial if you plan on using a public restroom, purchasing a snack, etc. Lastly, bring as much water as you can fit in your small bag. Feeling dehydrated is almost inevitable if you don’t have a water bottle with you.
When not participating in the festivities, it is important that you continue to take care of yourself. Most importantly, eat meals of substance! Do not rely on a bag of chips or a piece of fruit to get you through the day. Meals that are high in protein will fuel you the most, and carbs will help keep you feeling full. Additionally, make sure to get substantial rest, whether it be napping or watching an episode of your favorite show. Furthermore, listen to your body. Don’t push yourself to go to an event if you don’t feel up to it. There will be countless parades and parties, missing one or two won’t detract from the overall experience. Mardi Gras will not be fun if you are not your best self!
At the end of the day, you know yourself best. Do what you feel you need to do to have a happy and healthy Mardi Gras, keeping in mind that the city is also in recovery mode. Be respectful to others around you, understand everyone celebrates differently, and ask locals about their favorite ways to celebrate.
Cover photo: Bari Lipper (The Crescent Graphic Design Team)