Sunday, May 15, 2011


Thursday, May 12th - After our walk around the Quarter, CH and I got back to the hotel around 5:45 p.m. to get ready for the bus to pick us up at 6:30 p.m. for a tour and dinner at Mardi Gras World.

The tour and dinner was organized by the conference people. There was bit of chaos because everyone just gathered in front of the hotel. There were two busses but no line was formed and no directions so people could not orderly getting on the bus. I tried to stay with CH so I could help her. When we got on the bus, there were available seats but we were told that they were saved. I was so ready to use a few "French-Creole" words I learned while walking along Bourbon Street!

We were able to find two seats together towards the end of the bus. The ride was short and at city streets speed limit, so I did not experience any motion sickness. The Mardi Gras World was located on the Riverfront, in an isolated industrial warehouse area.

According to the brochure, Mardi Gras World is the place where magic comes alive. We walked thru the gift shop into the theater for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. We were divided into three groups and followed the guides for a behind the curtain tour of the warehouse where all the mega-floats from previous parades are kept and maintained. We were told that the artists already began planning for next year's parades.

After the tour, we enjoyed a real N'awlins dinner that included jambalaya, seafood gumbo, pasta rue bourbon (seasoned crawfish cakes atop rigatoni pasta tossed with Cajun crawfish cream sauce) and white chocolate bread pudding (I took one bite and got drunk - there was probably a whole bottle of rum in the cake).

We enjoyed the tour having the opportunity to see the giant props up-close, in the making and the actual floats used in the parades. I was surprised to learn that the props were made of styrofoam because the material is light and easy to form into shape.

We learned that it is very costly to create the props, the costumes and a lot of people spent a lot of time on making the floats.
There were strings of gold (for power), green (for faith) and purple (for justice) beads on the tables. We were told to take the beads at the end of the dinner as souvenirs. We took the beads so we did not have to wait until next year parades!

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