I Hate Mardi Gras

According to my birth certificate, I was, in fact, born in Louisiana. You’d never know this from my personal preferences, though. I don’t like seafood – eww, it tastes like the water it came from. I can’t get behind red beans and rice – it’s literally a starch on top of another starch. I don’t understand the hype around king cakes – they’re just cinnamon rolls, people! And I hate Mardi Gras.

Bring on your pitchforks. I’m not budging on this.

When people find out I don’t like Mardi Gras, they have the same reaction as when they find out I don’t like watermelon (“Oh, you have to get a sweet one!” “You have to put sugar on it!” “You have to put salt on it!”) — “Oh, you have to go uptown!” “You have to go to Spanishtown!” “You have to go to Lafayette!”

Listen, I have experience with all sorts of parades. From our humble, local parade to the larger truck parades in Metairie. However, none of them ever really appealed to me. One time a grown woman lifted me by the arm so she could grab some white beads that had fallen at my feet. And that was probably when my hatred for Mardi Gras was born. I remember vividly thinking how ridiculous it was that an adult was willing to act like that for some beer-soaked plastic trash.

I hold it together for the children.

I don’t understand the bead thing. They’re plastic and cheap and usually tangled and broken and I just. don’t. get it. I can maaaaybe get behind people who want to keep beads knowing that they’re going to be riding in a parade soon, but other than that? Nope. I have a rule when my family and I go to parades that none of it goes in the vehicle. We have done that stupid thing where the beads make it to the van and sit in the trunk for days … weeks … months … for what?! To eventually go in the trash?! Cut out the middle man and toss ’em. Buh-bye.

And “yes, Annelle, I pray!”

Dying inside.

I do my civic duty and take my kids to parades. And as far as they can tell, I LOVE Mardi Gras! I am a party animal at these parades! I dance to the cacophony of too-loud float music! (Side note: all parade music is stuck in the 90s, and I ain’t complainin’! Hello, Jock Jams and Salt-N-Pepa!) We even get the most out of our Halloween costumes and wear them to Southdowns in the true feeling of Carnival Time! I put on a brave face for them, but the truth is I’m dying inside.

“This dance ain’t for everybody–only the sexy people!”

I’m not much of a drinker. It’s not some religious or moral choice – I’ve just been pregnant or nursing for, like, half my life – so the debauchery is lost on me. You know that part in Mean Girls where Cady envisions everyone acting like animal versions of themselves? Yeah, that’s pretty much how Mardi Gras looks to this sober dissenter.

It’s not bad enough that there are too many people around – but so many of them are druuuuuunk. Dial my Mommy Anxiety up about 27 notches. Yikes. Also, can we talk about how these drunken float-riders throw beads for a sec? I have had to stand protectively in front of my kids when they were little because DAMN! They’re likely to get meleed by the overzealous riders. We don’t have those ladder seats, and I honestly can’t imagine the logistics behind planning for the ladder and naps and access to a potty and parking and food … ! It’s this OCD mom’s nightmare.

We’ll still go to a few tame, local parades because (ugh!) it’s my duty as a mother and a wife, but I go against my will. Because Mardi Gras is exhausting, and I hate it.

Megan Southall
Megan is “Mommy! Mom! Mom-Mommy!” to four: Carson (9), Atticus (7), Evangeline (4), and Bo (8 months). She is from Port Allen and went to high school and college in Baton Rouge, getting her Bachelor’s Degree in English with a concentration in Secondary Education from LSU. Megan then moved to the ‘burbs in Zachary. She and her husband of 9 years, Ryan, are teachers, Ryan at Zachary High School and Megan at West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, where she is also the Instructional Specialist. Megan is Nationally Board Certified in English Language Arts and has a Master's in Educational Leadership. She adores her job, as it gives her awesome opportunities: working with teenagers, gaining perspective on parenting them, and getting to pretend she’s a SAHM over the summer. When she’s not learning piano or reading, Megan can be found on the couch, talking to episodes of “Real Housewives of New York.”

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