When I went New Orleans for the first time a few years ago, I became engrossed with the concept of Mardi Gras. It wasn’t the boozy, bare-it-all party aspect, but the camaraderie surrounding the Mardi Gras celebration that intrigued me. I loved the fact that there was this festival so deeply engrained in the local culture that sparked innovative cooking contests, elaborate balls and extraordinary costumes. I decided then and there that I wanted to ride in a Mardi Gras parade and be a part of the celebration, so I added it to my Life List.
Last year at the Travel Media Showcase, I had the unexpected opportunity to meet Kaylen, the forever-smiling, perky and incredibly kind public relations representative from Lake Charles, Louisiana. It turns out that Lake Charles holds the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana. It’s almost as big as the one in New Orleans, and there are still lots of parades, cook-offs and other events. Most importantly, it’s way more family friendly and members of the public are invited to participate in Mardi Gras events in Lake Charles that they wouldn’t be able to participate in in New Orleans.
Now that’s interesting.
I mentioned to Kaylen that some day I wanted to ride on a Mardi Gras float. Earlier this year she invited me down to Lake Charles to do just that, so I packed my green, gold and purple and headed down to Louisiana to participate in the Mardi Gras festivities, the highlight of which was riding in the Children’s Parade. From aboard the float, I watched as thousands of people threw their hands into the air, begging for beads, doubloons and plastic cups. I don’t know how long the parade lasted, but I had a grin plastered to my face the entire time.
Thank you, Lake Charles, for helping my dream come true!