I am surrounded by thousands of people in costume!
A bright green caterpillar accompanying a rather splendid yellow and black queen bee trundles by. Super Pope appears from nowhere. Pirates, fairies, hippies, leopards, bears, spacemen, they are everywhere and no I am not on drugs or Ibiza!
It’s Mardi Gras day in New Orleans and absolutely everyone is in fancy dress. The whole local community is out joined by a few visitors in the know, all parading the streets and partying in full costume.
Everyone except me and Toby (this is his 50th birthday treat). It is so weird to be in a sea of full colour dress up as the only ‘ Oh, they clearly didn’t get the memo’ people in our drab black and grey jeans and T-shirts.
Deciding all is as it should be I settle in to being an observer for the day.
Bourbon Street is chaos. So many people packed into one loud music filled street all hustling for beads. You’re either on a balcony throwing bead necklaces to eager party punters below or you’re on the street making eye contact and waving your hands at the bead throwers on the balconies.
Somewhere a tradition was made to flash your boobs in exchange for beads. A handful still do, men and women. I chose to stick with waving my hands in the air and eye contact.
We leave the chaos of Bourbon Street and head off through the French Quarter carried on a wave of colour and uplifting vibes to Frenchman Street in the Marigny area. It truly is a magical experience parading amongst such a feast of colour and high energy.
I observe that the people in costumes are proud to stand out and be seen, showing off their hard work, effort and creativity in jubilant splendour. All races, colours and cultures. No competition, no malice. Just friends, community and strangers alike connecting together in one common theme – freedom.
I observe that these are all signs of empowerment. Who’d have thought that dressing up in fancy costumes would be so empowering?
Not once were we judged for not dressing up, even though I so wished we’d got that memo, I’d have packed my Elvis outfit!
Much love and happiness,