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Mardi Gras Moments: Learn the rules

Mardi Gras Moment I

In the late 1970s, as a newcomer to New Orleans, I quickly learned the rules of throw-catching. 1.) If a pair of beads comes your way, snag them in the air and don’t let go – even if it means snapping them in two in a tug of war with a competitor. 2.) NEVER bend down to pick up a doubloon, cup or pair of beads – your hand will be stomped or head whacked by someone.

At a parade one balmy afternoon, a doubloon landed at my feet. Mindful of Rule No. 2, I quickly stepped on it. Never bend down, right? The woman next to me, obviously overcome with throw-fervor, quickly bent down. Ah-ha! I thought. She doesn’t know Rule No. 2. Then I felt a sharp pain in my ankle. “Stewart!” I shrieked to my husband. “That woman just bit me!”

And off she went with my doubloon. Rule No. 2 defeated.

Mardi Gras Moment II

As a newcomer to the city, my husband and I were thrilled to find an atmospheric and affordable apartment in the French Quarter — in the 900 block of Bourbon Street, smack between Lafitte in Exile and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. The only drawback: parking. Too poor to afford a designated space, we took whatever curb space presented itself – usually blocks away.

Then, a few days before Mardi Gras, fortune smiled and we found a spot right in front of our apartment. How lucky, we thought!

On Mardi Gras morning, we woke up, wandered into the street – and saw a crowd of revelers, several dozen in all, jumping up and down … on the hood and top of our auto.

Rule No. 3: Never trust a gift parking space in the French Quarter.


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