Since we will not be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras we decided to visit Mardi Gras World where the floats are built. It was a very interesting visit. We began the tour with trying on various costumes and hats (although I tried on the costume top we declined the hat) and then getting pictures made. The guide then served us a small piece of King Cake and someone did have a doll. She explained that the custom of the doll in the cake indicated that the person who found the doll was supposed to be the next person to host a party. The lady that won was from Alabama. I think she’s safe from that tradition.
We went through the warehouse where all of the artists were working and saw floats in various stages of development although most of them are getting close to the finish as Mardi Gras parades start soon. We took a lot of pictures. One of the krewes was started by Harry Connick, Jr. The initial float costs around $80,000 and updating it each year costs about $10,000. Krewe members are only responsible for their costumes, for loading the float up with the beads, toys, etc. that are thrown and then showing up the day of the parade. The floats even have bathroom (port-a-potties) on them and the newer floats have them on both floors as getting down to the first floor proves to be difficult when the float is moving most especially if an adult beverage has been consumed.
We left and poor Gypsy was lost! We ended up – well, I don’t know where we ended up but I finally turned on Waze on my phone and got us downtown. We ended up having lunch at Charcoal’s. I had a Kobe burger which was huge and Jerry ordered an elk burger. They somehow got the order mixed up and Jerry ended up with a salad. They did prepare the elk burger and gave it to him to take home. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t serve emu. I would have like to have an emu burger (for those of you that don’t know, we used to raise emus).
We rode around a bit then went back to the French Quarter hoping for some more beignets but although there were fewer people there everyone must have driven. After driving around for a while we just gave up and came on back to the motor home.
When I was planning our trip I called a campground in Convent asking about availability and was told that there was plenty of space and no need to make a reservation since we weren’t sure of our arrival date. Well, things must have changed because when I called today suddenly they were full. The message I got when I called talked about the various sites that could be bought. I got the feeling that the guy just didn’t want any “transient” folks. Oh well – I spent the afternoon trying to find a decent place not too far away from the plantations we want to visit. I told Jerry that someone could come down here and open up a nice campground and make a lot of money because highly rated campgrounds are hard to find. I finally settled on Lamar Dixon Expo Center RV Park in Gonzales, La. I called and got a recording that the office was closed possibly because of Martin Luther King Day. I did talk with someone but he knew nothing and suggested that I call back tomorrow when they open at 8:00. I will do that but I also have two other campgrounds that I will call if Lamar Dixon doesn’t work out. They are not nearly as convenient for our touring but will have to work if Lamar Dixon isn’t an option.
After dinner tonight Jerry and I just sat around and talked about what our most favorite experience has been. I think I have enjoyed visiting Destrehan and attending the Seladian parade the most although visiting the French Quarter was certainly eye opening. Jerry said that his favorite was not one particular thing but rather little bits of things, like trying a muffalatta while in the French Quarter. My absolutely most favorite memory though will be sitting on a bench on the waterfront while waiting for the Grayline tour and we prayed for Les and Ivy and Kyle. It was a special moment and one I won’t forget.