Discovering Mardi Gras: through the eyes of a Newcomer

Last year was our first Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge, and I had no idea what to expect. When I thought about Mardi Gras, I pictured parades in New Orleans, but I had never been there before. I have lived in several other states, but none of them fully celebrated Mardi Gras in the cities where we lived. What was this all about, and why did people talk about it so far in advance?

As soon as January arrived, our friends said, “It’s king cake season!” I was confused again. But throughout January and February, they introduced my family and I to the delicious varieties of flavors and toppings. This was a whole new world, and I was intrigued. The king cakes were fantastic! From chocolate filled to fruit topped, they were fabulous. Then I saw the parade schedule for Baton Rouge and was intrigued again. This many parades? And just about all of them are kid-friendly? There was even an adorable dog parade! This kept getting better. The first Mardi Gras parade we went to was with a group of friends. We brought blankets and chairs, and our kids all played and caught beads, toys, candy, and cups. The look on their faces was pure delight. Then we had several days off of school for Mardi Gras. This was another first for us, and my boys were thrilled.

What I felt more than anything throughout this season was a joy and a celebration of life all around us. I hadn’t imagined that Mardi Gras was really a family activity, but in Baton Rouge, it really is. From parties for the kids at school to more jazz music on the radio, celebrations were all around us. As I talked to different friends last year, they all had different things that were their favorite about Mardi Gras, from their kids making floats in parades at school to going on fun trips during the days off of school.

As the New Year starts, I’m already looking forward to Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge. From parties to parades, it’s another way that Baron Rouge is different from any other place, and I love it. There is a joy of living here that is contagious. After we moved to Baton Rouge, my son said, “They know how to have fun here, and the name of that of that fun is parade!”

Stephanie grew up with her family in Kirkwood, Missouri. She earned a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and then a Montessori degree in Atlanta, Georgia.  She also lived in Oklahoma for several years, and now calls Baton Rouge home. She taught PreK and Elementary school part time, full time, and had some stay-at home mom time when her babies were little. She teaches PreK four at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, and she loves being a teacher mom. In her free time, she enjoys going to Barre class, cooking, traveling, singing, girls' nights, trips to the beach, and spending time with friends and family. She and her husband have two adventurous, adorable boys, ages seven and thirteen, who keep life exciting and hilarious. 


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