My Nightmare Mardi Gras (A Long Rant) (1 Viewer)

Vemnox

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I was really excited about Mardi Gras this year. I'm more excited every year, actually. I had big plans as you can see here: http://saintsreport.com/forums/f3/mardi-gras-parade-opinions-wanted-284979/. Thursday was going to be Chaos, Babylon, and Muses. Friday I was going to stay at the Marriott New Orleans to see Hermes, d'Etat, and Morpheus then wake up and see Iris and Tucks. What I ended up with is seeing 2 parades.

So Thursday we leave work at 1:30pm (we're from Baton Rouge, so we had to drive). I had spent the entire evenings of the previous two days working on elaborate posters for which to bring, so we were ready. We decided to view the parade along Napoleon (as suggested in the thread I linked above). When we got there, things were actually pretty nice. There were a billion ladders lined up along the street but that didn't really bother us. We ended up staking out a spot just across the street from St. Stephen's Church. We talked with some friendly folks as we waited for the parade. That's where the fun ended.

Can anyone tell my WHY people insist on just walking up right in front of you? As soon as the first parade started people would just elbow their way in and stand there. What started as leg room in front of our 3 lawn chairs turned into literally nothing. Myself, my wife, and my 3 y/o were either standed behind adults chasing floats with kids on their shoulders or scandily-clad, cursing drunk women. We suffered through the first two parades dealing with the crowds as well as the "blood in the water" behavior over throws. I've been to Mardi Gras nearly every year my entire life and I've never seen anything like the behavior that was going on.

By the time the Muses parade was started, we had already been pushed around, caught less than a handful of throws, and my daughter was crying. The same daughter that has been through countless Mardi Gras parades already and loves them to death. 3 floats into Muses we decided to bail. All my posters from all 3 floats which I had put so much effort into were just ignored - that's if I could even get them up because of the crowds. I looked at my wife and daughter who were just miserable and decided it was time to go. Side note: Everyone that kept pushing their way in front of us I kept politely asking to move as we had driven a long way and been our there for several hours. Their response was always the same: "Well we live here."

Cherry on top? Ticket on my car. Apparently you can't park "against the folow of traffic." What's ironic about this is I spent nearly 45 minutes carefully selecting a legal place to park - passing up many many questionable spots to avoid breaking any laws. I have to plead ignorance; I had no idea I couldn't park on the left side of the road facing into traffic.

So, 4 total hours of driving we were back home with a handful of beads and a parking ticket. But tomorrow will be better, right?

Realizing that driving back after a night's parade is tough, I tried for weeks to get a hotel for Friday night. I struck gold early last week when I got the Marriot New Orleans on Canal for a decent $112. For Mardi Gras on a Friday - not bad. (Come to find out they'd want $40 for parking too, though!)

So, again, we leave work early on Friday and drive to New Orleans. And drive, and drive. Or should I say sit and sit. I knew traffic would be bad so it wasn't a surprise to me that 3 hours later we were still sitting in Metairie. Then hour 4 passed. Then hour 5. So from Baton Rouge to New Orleans we finally were exitting into the city after 5 hours in the car. Naturally every road our GPS told us to go was blocked. I had anticipated this and printed out directions to go around Canal Street and approach from the North or East. I had called the night before and was told by the Marriot that the valet parking would be relocated to the rear of the hotel on Iberville St. Problem was - EVERY street was closed. By this point my gas was running on fumes without a gas station in sight. So here I am lost, unable to get to my hotel, without gas, and having been in the car for 5 hours. FINALLY I spot a police officer who was blocking one of the Iberville entrances. He says he can't let me down there but gives me directions to make this massive loop through the French Quarter, come up Decatur, and that will take me to Iberville. Praise God for the Chevron that was on the way where we were able to fill up. It takes us almost another hour to get up Decatur to Iberville as directed. We go to turn and ... ROAD CLOSED. Seriously?? I park the car on the curb, turn the hazards on, and get out to talk to the mounted police officer. It was that moment I received the biggest profanity-laden lecture about how much of a moron I am to even think I could get to my hotel. I cannot even put into words what this officer said to me and how he acted. He was the most pompus narcissistic jerk I have ever met. After informing me of how much of an idiot I was, he told me not to expect to get to the hotel until well after midnight.

At this point we're now driving in circles around the area in front of St Louis Cathederal. I call the hotel and the lady had no clue how to get to the hotel or what I could do. She was unapologetic and basically was telling me just to wait. She then informed me that even if we were to get to the hotel, their parking was full anyway. !@#$!!!!

I decided at this point it was to my advantage to just go home. I was tired, beat down, depressed, and just wanted my own bed. So, we turned around, spent a while trying to find a way onto the Interstate that was actually open, and drove 2 hours to get home. Didn't see 1 parade in all that.

I know most of you locals will come here and say "well duh!" and "this is nothing new." But I'd be majorly disappointed if I was an actual tourist who flew down and got caught in a mess like this. I learned a lot of lessons. The foremost being that if you're going to go to a hotel check in early in the morning. I also learned to greatly lower my expectations. After seeing several parades in Metairie recently which were all a blast, Nola is a completely different universe. It's just not a fun atmosphere anymore [for families]. Anywho that's my rant!

Edit: And hats off to CajunSaint http://saintsreport.com/forums/members/cajunsaint/ who warned me about this!
 

SaintRob39

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Come to Lafayette next time. Sorry for your experience but Lafayette really is a good place to go for Mardi Gras.
 

bornnraisedwhodat

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Yeah, N.O. parades are not real family friendly.

Why did you let those people get in front of you? Got to man up son!

Cant believe you were trying to get to Canal st. that time of the night during Carnival. Aint happening. It's a shame the cop was such butt. Why did you let him talk to you like that? Did you get his badge number?

For the family friendly parades you might want to stick to the day parades or the ones in Metarie.
 

FLIPPY

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Being 49 and attending parades since a baby, you learn what and what not to do..... Don't let this get you down, learn from it and have a better time next year... Sorry about your bad experience.
 

FLIPPY

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Yeah, N.O. parades are not real family friendly.


For the family friendly parades you might want to stick to the day parades or the ones in Metarie.
I'm calling b.s. on this one... I live in Metairie, and I would rather attend NO parades on St Charles than in some areas in Metry with my family. We were on St Charles and First for yesterday parades and had no problems....and that's after my all day and night event with riding in Endymion....so you know my condition had no room for shenanigans.

Unfortunately, when you don't know where to stand I can be a problem....
 

bornnraisedwhodat

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I'm calling b.s. on this one... I live in Metairie, and I would rather attend NO parades on St Charles than in some areas in Metry with my family. We were on St Charles and First for yesterday and had no problems....

Unfortunately, when you don't know where to stand I can be a problem....
Yeah, I usually hit St. Charles also but I dont have kids. I know I see a lot of families out there that seem to be having fun. But it seems like the OP wanted something more structured and less rowdy.
 

bornnraisedwhodat

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Being 49 and attending parades since a baby, you learn what and what not to do..... Don't let this get you down, learn from it and have a better time next year... Sorry about your bad experience.
This.

1. Dont leave BR for Mardi Gras on a Friday evening. Traffic will be absolutely terrible. Either leave early in the day or late at night.

2. You might do better getting a hotel in Metarie or on the west bank.

3. Be prepared to pay to park. It is what it is. But I rather pay the bucks to park than have to deal with parking tickets.

4. Don't let people box you out. You get a spot you hold it down. You might have to elbow and be stern. Sometimes you might have to just move to a better spot. Be flexible.
 

FLIPPY

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This.

1. Dont leave BR for Mardi Gras on a Friday evening. Traffic will be absolutely terrible. Either leave early in the day or late at night.

2. You might do better getting a hotel in Metarie or on the west bank.

3. Be prepared to pay to park. It is what it is. But I rather pay the bucks to park than have to deal with parking tickets.

4. Don't let people box you out. You get a spot you hold it down. You might have to elbow and be stern. Sometimes you might have to just move to a better spot. Be flexible.
I don't know what it is, but the traffic that Friday before Mardi Gras is the absolute worst, even in the afternoon in NO and Metairie. Riding in Endymion for the past 18 years, I need to do a lot of things with the krewe like float loading and other preparations, and it seems I have to make time for traffic every year....
 

Brennan77

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We take multiple kids with us to the parades in uptown. We don't bring chairs and ladders, however. There are too many people for you to think you can possibly have a space to your own. Put the kid on your shoulders and get up in front with everyone else. It is a blast. Keep the chairs and gears back away from the street as home base. The locals have a point. We pay a premium to live in the neighborhood, still have to work and then somebody from out of town tries to tell us we have the stand behind their lawn furniture to see the parade? Not gonna happen.

I'm sorry you had a bad time. Please do try again. I'd recommend a less crowded and less gentrified area next time. It is literally half as crowded just blocks away. I'm sorry the cop as an ***. But I think it is to be expected this time a year. No use in arguing with them. Also, you simply cannot expect to get anywhere near canal or the quarter while a major parade is rolling.

Good luck next time. Happy Mardi Gras.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk 2
 
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Mardi Gras, for me personally, isn't very fun anymore. People use it as an excuse to get drunk and act stupid. There's a difference between drinking a few and enjoying yourself and getting drunk and acting stupid. Mardi Gras brings out the latter.

I've only been to 2 New Orleans parades and they were OK. We had the same issues where people would force their way in front of you. We eventually got out the crowd and watched from the back.

We went to one parade this year in Thibodaux with my Godchild and those people just want to hurt you with beads. I really don't get it.

I'm a Mardi Gras scrooge. I do enjoy the king cakes though.
 

dgrant

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I too got a parking ticket for the exact same thing at a saints game, under the overpass, on a road that isn't a road. More like a gravel area next to a pylon. The NOLA cops are notorious for writing parking tickets for even borderline infractions. </br></br> Like everyone else says, get into town before parades start rolling. Its a shame the experience with the mounted cop. I generally avoid those cops at all costs. Their demeanor always seems to be similar to what you are describing. ALL of the foot police I've interacted with were as nice and helpful as they could be year after year. I know they are sick of dealing with people for endless shifts, and I'm sure having the Superbowl has added to the fatigue. I liken it to PTSD.</br></br> Parking is expensive and painful every time I've been to NO. It is like a big load has been lifted from your shoulders when the car finally finds its home for the weekend.</BR></br> Don't give up on Mardi Gras. I too want a very structured vacation itinerary. After years of Mardi Gras with my family on St. Charles, I've learned that it NEVER goes as planned. I always planned too many parades, and ended up with a tired, hungry, and angry family. I try to keep my day to a three parade max, plan where to eat beforehand, and take lots of snacks. Food keeps everyone happy and has made the difference in a great trip and a bad one. The MOST important thing I have learned is to be flexible and accept that no matter how much I have planned, it WILL NOT go according to plan, and bring snacks. </br></br>The SECOND MOST important thing I have learned is to carry a really good laminated street map tucked in my jacket. It helps for parking, emergency re-routes on foot, in the car, etc. The laminated map allows me to fold it down to a size that is inconspicious, because I turn to the only frame that I need to reference. I can pull it out, glance at it, and stash it away again so I don't become a target. I find it sooo much easier than using any form of GPS or phone app. Normally I do all the driving, but during Mardi Gras, I'm full time navigator for my wife. This strategy has saved our marriage more than once. She really struggles with the navigating part. </br></br>
 
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Vemnox

Vemnox

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Wow thanks for all the replies! I'll try to tackle a couple points...

Come to Lafayette next time. Sorry for your experience but Lafayette really is a good place to go for Mardi Gras.
Yeah I'm learning to like the humble out-of-town parades more and more. A small, quiet parade in Mandeville, Baton Rouge, or Lafayette has its perks. Plus a 3 y/o couldn't care less about which parade they're seeing.

Why did you let those people get in front of you? Got to man up son!

Cant believe you were trying to get to Canal st. that time of the night during Carnival. Aint happening. It's a shame the cop was such butt. Why did you let him talk to you like that? Did you get his badge number?

For the family friendly parades you might want to stick to the day parades or the ones in Metarie.
I tried to "man up" as best I could, but a white nerdy guy vs. a group of 5 drunks just doesn't put the hand in my favor. I asked several people to move contantly but was just told to piss off.

The Canal Street thing ... yeah. My fault. I learned my lesson.

When I asked the cop for his badge number, he said "f- you." I posted about it on the Nola Police Facebook page twice and they removed both posts. Go figure.

Agreed in the future we will look for day parades and Metairie.

Being 49 and attending parades since a baby, you learn what and what not to do..... Don't let this get you down, learn from it and have a better time next year... Sorry about your bad experience.
I have no regrets. I learned a lot and I will learn more each year. It won't get me down (er, except for Nola night parades which I'm pretty much done with).

Yeah, I usually hit St. Charles also but I dont have kids. I know I see a lot of families out there that seem to be having fun. But it seems like the OP wanted something more structured and less rowdy.
The last 10 years before this we had always viewed the Sunday parades St. Charles at Girod just before Gallier Hall. It had progressively become worse and worse until finally last year some overzealous lady knocked over my aunt to try and grab some beads and that was it. They left and said they won't be back to Mardi Gras again, so we were left to find a spot on our own.

This.

1. Dont leave BR for Mardi Gras on a Friday evening. Traffic will be absolutely terrible. Either leave early in the day or late at night.

2. You might do better getting a hotel in Metarie or on the west bank.

3. Be prepared to pay to park. It is what it is. But I rather pay the bucks to park than have to deal with parking tickets.

4. Don't let people box you out. You get a spot you hold it down. You might have to elbow and be stern. Sometimes you might have to just move to a better spot. Be flexible.
1. I know, I'm a dumby for even thinking I could pull it off.

2. I really don't think the hotel would have been a problem had I checked in in the morning.

3. I was prepared to pay to park; problem was there was no parking.

4. I needed more people with me - friends, family, or backup of any kind. As just a humble 3 person family we simply don't command the authority we need to hold our spot.

We take multiple kids with us to the parades in uptown. We don't bring chairs and ladders, however. There are too many people for you to think you can possibly have a space to your own. Put the kid on your shoulders and get up in front with everyone else. It is a blast. Keep the chairs and gears back away from the street as home base. The locals have a point. We pay a premium to live in the neighborhood, still have to work and then somebody from out of town tries to tell us we have the stand behind their lawn furniture to see the parade? Not gonna happen.

I'm sorry you had a bad time. Please do try again. I'd recommend a less crowded and less gentrified area next time. It is literally half as crowded just blocks away. I'm sorry the cop as an ***. But I think it is to be expected this time a year. No use in arguing with them. Also, you simply cannot expect to get anywhere near canal or the quarter while a major parade is rolling.

Good luck next time. Happy Mardi Gras.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk 2
I'm just not willing to do all that. I don't have to go through ANY of that for the Metairie parades and, frankly, I just don't have the willpower to fight with people over something so petty. I have to disagree with your sentiments about people in the area having privledge. I don't think anyone has a right to just walk in front of kids drunk as hell, cussing up a storm, and have zero regard for the people around them. I was born and raised in Nola; just because I'm not there now doesn't make me a second-class parade-goer.

Every parade I've been to this year has been super family-friendly.
Where were you standing and which parades?
 

NYCsaint

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thats no good - i was looking forward to hearing some awesome feedback from you after the first thread. Not sure if it was mostly the spot you ended up (and some bad luck) or what.... ive never done thursday on napoleon so i dont know if thats always a tough spot - I did notice the crowd was pretty heavy for muses (even for them) where i was on st charles, but i didnt have any trouble with the folks around me. might have been a situation where being a bit more mobile or flexible to walk a few blocks over mightve helped. ive been to parades where i was next to trashy drunks and hated it, and then 30 yards down the street had a fantastic time. the crowds are definitely trending bigger and bigger for muses, so i go not expecting all the throws, but typically a cute kid with a sign will get you some stuff. one thing ive realized from riding is that the crowd can go fast though, and even if they see the sign and kid, sometimes you cant get to a good throw in time to get it to them - friends normally have to chase the float a bit to make sure they get something from me. might be a situation where its not for you guys, or maybe one where you learn a few lessons and it kicks butt for you next year.

the ticket just sucks. i hate that the city beats up on people like that. dont blame you one bit for being frustrated. sure its a ticket, and a valid one, so you can only be so mad at them, but its frustrating none the less.



as to the friday night.... i know its not what you want to hear, but thats kind of the luck of the draw sometimes. once the parades are going and streets are blocked, a hotel front desk or phone operator wont have an answer for what is open, when streets will close or how to get to the actual hotel..... its at the whim of the nopd officers and can change year to year, or night to night. gotta get downtown early if you want to be driving. at best they are dealing with the same officers that you saw and... sadly... they can underwhelm. I try to chalk it up as most are good and some of the bad (especially in the quarter) have probably been in the crowd dealing with some of the worst people mardi gras has to offer for days (or in this case weeks with super bowl and parades before)... its no excuse but... its the reality of the situation.

if you decide to give it another shot - hopefully you will be armed with a few lessons learned and got some bad luck out of the way.... and you will get more of the good that mardi gras has to offer. so far (knock on wood) i havent had any of those nightmare experiences this year and ive been out to just about everything.
 

buzd

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The NOLA cops are notorious for writing parking tickets for even borderline infractions.
NOPD doesn't write parking tickets, and parking against traffic, while usually only enforced in high-patrol situations, is no more a borderline infraction than other violations. We get tickets during Endymion for parking in our own driveway and "blocking the (nonexistent) sidewalk". I've fought them, but it's important to know what the rules are.
 

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