Editor’s Note: To get us in the mood for Mardi Gras (who are we kidding, we’re all in the mood for Mardi Gras already), we are diving into the sugary, sensual, and silly side that makes this the most wonderful time of the year! Move over, Christmas! This entire week we will be celebrating the food, the culture, the music, and the traditions of Mardi Gras for our “Carnival Craving” series.
Carnival attracts and mixes an eccentric variety of characters. And while the unique, the unexpected, and the downright bizarre will likely color your Mardi Gras, you can certainly count on bumping into a number of stock characters at Carnival. The 10 people you meet during Mardi Gras, as told by dogs at Barkus. This piece was originally published on NolaVie on February 24, 2014.
1. The Olympic bead-catcher
This person has written several letters to the Summer Olympic committee in an effort to add bead-catching to the program and finally get the “sport” the recognition it deserves. He has been known to pummel small children and the elderly for a good catch. If you think he’s above biting for a good doubloon — go ahead, test him.
2. The bathroom hunter
Based on her grueling selection process, it appears this person plans to marry and start a family with whichever bathroom she (finally) uses. She spends the majority of Carnival hunting for the perfect restroom — the line at the bar is too long; she’s morally opposed to the Mardi Gras “pay to pee” principle; and every porta potty is too dirty, reeks (no kidding), or isn’t furnished with her preferred Charmin ultra soft. Like a child, she needs to be asked, “Are you sure you really don’t have to go?” whenever a potentially acceptable bathroom is accessible.
3. The hungry, hungry hippo
These people think they’re at Jazz Fest; they insist on stopping at every vendor and restaurant within a six-block radius of the parade route, and that platter of po-boys under the stranger’s tent — yep, they’re eating that, too. They have no idea when any parades roll, but they know that Taco Loceaux will park at the corner of Magazine and Jackson in 27 minutes. And don’t ty to get between them and their beignets; apparently, they will reduce N.O. to rubble.
4. The one who wears his dinner
Unlike the hungry, hungry hippo, this person fills up on the contents of his go-cup(s), forgetting to eat until 5 PM. Subsequently, by the time he does reach food, it’s too late and he has lost the coordination skills necessary for successfully consuming a Lucky Dog, so most of the hot dog ends up on his shirt, in his hair, on his face. If you don’t like the smells of mustard and relish, avoid this person after 6 PM.
5. The army of tutu’d sorority girls
Like ants, when you spot one, the troops are never far.
“Hey, Sister. Cute tutu!”
6. The Grinch who stole Carnival
The sun is hurting their eyes, their legs are tired from walking, their daiquiri is melting, they “don’t catch,” someone in the crowd stepped on their bunion; the parade is rolling too slowly; and the traffic, the traffic, the traffic. Remind these people to book themselves a trip out of NOLA for Mardi Gras 2015.
7. The neutral ground general
This person has appointed himself “Keeper of the Neutral Ground” and has come prepared to decimate you if you get too close to his chair, tent, or cooler. He also owns the air space above this neutral ground spot, so don’t even think about blocking his parade view with your head.
8. The tourists
One word: ponchos.
9. The one who’s not over football season.
Still living in Mardi Gras 2010 (just after the Saints won the Super Bowl), this person runs through the streets in a jersey (also worn for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Flag Day) screaming “Who Dat?!” This character often frightens young children and small pets.
10. Bubble boy
You’ll find “Urgent Care” and “Poison Control” in this person’s recent calls list. Within two hours of arriving to the party, the parade, whatever — this person is silently weeping as she leaves with an Ace bandage, an ice pack, a bloody nose, or maybe all of the above. These types attract injuries wherever they go — a jumbo bag of beads to the eye, neutral ground to the face, a sketchy looking egg sandwich to the stomach. By Fat Tuesday, they look like they’ve just finished filming for a fight scene in Rocky.
Remember, it’s not really Mardi Gras until you’ve found them all.
Chelsea Lee is associate editor at NolaVie. Email comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.