Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler - Winter 2011 travel blog

decorated

the baby

King Cake

gathering

decorated inside


We're camped on the south shore (or is it the west shore?) of the Mississippi River. The river twists and winds so much around New Orleans that we crossed bridge after bridge to get here and were never sure what direction we were headed. We've come to see Mardi Gras, a long unrealized goal. We signed up to attend with an RV rally the year Katrina pretty much destroyed the place and are happy to be here at last.

We were the last rally attendees to arrive. We could have gotten up a bit earlier and we hit some road construction as we came into town. Then the freeway really clogged up, because many of the exits were closed because a Mardi Gras parade was going by. There are probably thirty parades going on in the area for the next ten days and they take place all over the city and suburbs.

The first thing we did after we parked was to decorate the front of the rig with some of the finery we had purchased in Mobile, the first city in the US to hold Mardi Gras. Then we met the group and the rally leaders who spent the afternoon preparing us for our visit. They set up a tent in the campground where we can meet no matter what the weather and decorated it with beads, masks and other paraphenalia. It sounds like after we attend a few parades, we will have armfuls of the stuff. Since most of the parades are on the weekend or on Fat Tuesday, there will be some days where we will tour the city and surroundings, activities that are not Mardi Gras related.

After all that listening we worked up an appetite and the leaders served hors'd oeuvres and King Cake. King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras food and they went to a special local bakery to get the best kind. They got in line at the bakery at 6:30am to make sure we would not be disappointed. The cake is an oval, sugared coffee cake that contains a plastic doll hidden inside; the person who finds the doll is crowned "king" and responsible for throwing the next party. More than 750,000 king cakes are annually consumed in metro New Orleans during the Carnival season. Since our rally group comes from all over the country, the tradition was altered so that whoever got the baby would be the "king" and his spouse would be the "queen." Well, when it came time for my slice of the cake, that baby fell onto my plate. So we both received crowns and scepters and look forward to making the most of our royal position.

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