Today is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday as many refer to it, the last hurrah before the Catholic season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Here's how Southwest Employees celebrated the holiday in The Big Easy. Laissez le bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll!
“For most, Mardi Gras is just another day, barely even noticed as a holiday. To others it is just another time to party. But when you come to New Orleans, it's a way of life. Mardi Gras is about great food, good music, family, fun, and yes, the spirits are always flowing! The funny thing is this is the New Orleans way, regardless of the time of year. It just so happens that on Mardi Gras we get to show it a little bit more and show everyone the type of people we truly are.
“One of the greatest perks of working for Southwest Airlines is that they allow, even encourage, us to express our inner Mardi Gras and share it with our Customers. We love being able to wear bedazzled jewelry, colorful t-shirts, and gaudy accessories. The decorations at the Ticket Counter, the Baggage Service Office, and the gates allow our Customers to feel the warmth of the city and the energy that is Mardi Gras. It's a wonderful time for us to showcase our culture at Southwest and the New Orleans's way, which does not stop with Fat Tuesday.” – MSY CSA Rachel Pilley
As for me, I spent last weekend in New Orleans, my mother’s hometown, doing Mardi Gras "family style."
When you picture Fat Tuesday, most people think of hurricanes, hand grenades, and drinking your way through the French Quarters. But for New Orleans natives and savvy tourists, there’s a whole other side of Mardi Gras that includes fun for the whole family.
For the first time in years, I went back to my mother’s hometown for the last weekend of Mardi Gras. The quick trip to MSY reminded me of all the great memories I had as a kid catching teddy bears and beads down Canal Street and St. Charles. With friendly locals and policemen as company, the daylong event turns into an affair that’s hard to not be excited for.
Families scope out parade spots on “neutral ground” (areas not claimed by home owners and businesses) days in advance. Then on the actual day of the parade, families wake up early to claim their spot and wait for the parade to start. With loaded ice chests, ladders, and camping gear, our family, like most, turns the long wait into a party. By time the first float arrives, everyone is in a great mood and having fun.
The first floats introduce the Krewe court and themed floats appear next. Bands march in between floats to keep the crowd jazzy, and the rewards get bigger and better with each passing float. When we leave, we have bags full of goodies like beads, footballs, boas, and even cups.
For those who are looking, Mardi Gras in Uptown, New Orleans can offer family fun that can’t be beat.