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33 Mardi Gras Ideas

I lived 10 years of my childhood in a New Orleans suburb, and every year, our family enjoyed the festivities that came along with Mardi Gras.



 I have fond memories as a child sitting on top of a homemade ladder box seat, waving my arms yelling, “Throw me something, Mister!” The people on the floated threw bead necklaces, small toys, doubloon coins, but I was always hoping for a LONG  bead or stuffed animal.  THOSE were the treasures to me.

mardi gras ladder


Those that have never been themselves, often see the commercialized events with all the craziness. The Mardi Gras that I know was a family event, and ever since I was little, we pulled out the ladders with the wooden box on top. Kids don’t belong in the French Quarter or on Canal Street during Mardi Gras. So if you go, take the family to St. Charles Avenue between First Street and Napoleon Avenue. Here the parade goers are all families. Many bring their ladders with kiddie seats attached to the top. The atmosphere is good, clean family fun. (Read HERE for more family friendly tips)

When I was in kindergarten, my brother and I got to ride in a parade float and throw out goodies to people below. This is me in a little tiger costume. 

Parades went on for weeks leading up to Mardi Gras Day, (the day before Ash Wednesday). The point was to have a party and eat and have fun the day before Lent. Of course I didn’t know about this growing up becaues we weren’t Catholic and didn’t participate in Lent. I just knew we got 3 days off of school the week of Mardi Gras. My family had friends who even started their own “krewe” called the Krewe of Little Rascals. That parade happened in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras.

Legend in my family says that while riding on the float with my brother, I dumped all my stuff out to people in the first 5 minutes and my brother was very meticulous and only threw out a little at a time. He generously shared with me the rest of his loot the parade…thank you, big bro!

 In the above picture my dad is holding me (heart drawn on my forehead) in front of our family ladder filled with blankets. We were up high enough that the people on the floats could see us and we could sit above the crowd. There are sections in New Orleans that catered more to the family crowd and thats where we would go. My grandparents would often fly in from Utah each February/March to join us in the Mardi Gras festivites…it was a family affair! 

King Cakes are yummy memory, and each year in school we would have a king cake every friday and whoever got the “baby” would bring the king cake the next week to school. That lasted 6-8 weeks or so.  Living in Texas, we get a little bit of the trickle affect, and I saw a King Cake in the grocery store, and had to snatch one up! My kids are familiar with the tradition. There is a little plastic baby hidden inside the cake, everyone wants to win it!

I wanted to share 33 Mardi Gras Ideas, how to make your own King Cake, some traditional New Orleans meals, and ideas for a Mardi Gras gathering.

33 Mardi Gras Ideas




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  1. i LOVE seeing the throwback pics…SO fun!! i’m going on my 4th year living here in NOLA…we actually live right outside in slidell…which i’m sure you know of…hubs works down in the biz district…but we always go the family parade and stand by his office on st. charles…best place to stand. it’s so fun seeing those ladders…we haven’t gotten one yet for our kids yet. not sure if we will…we have 3 more years here to enjoy it all. NOLA and the people and these festivities are amazing…neat to really see what it’s all about and not just on mardi gras day…an entire month. love all these ideas!! :):) will have to do some with my kiddos when they’re off from school the entire week of mardi gras day. :):)
    renee @ savoring life through the creativity recently posted..Savoring This Moment | Bath Time JoyMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Hi Renee! I actually lived in Slidell most of the time (some in Metarie)! I was in Quail Ridge and went to Little Oak Elementary and Boyet Jr. High. How fun! I really want to go to Mardi Gras someday, I haven’t been back since middle school, and I only live 8 hours away!

  2. So fun! I’d love to go to Mardi Gras someday!

  3. I used to live in Louisiana too, and I have mind memories of Mardi Gras, King Cakes, and all that fun. Excited to explore those recipes, thanks!!

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