How To Enjoy Mardi Gras Like A Pro

How To Enjoy Mardi Gras Like A Pro

Not all of us are locals, but all of us can act like them with a little bit of help.

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Mardi Gras. It's synonymous to Bourbon Street, downtown, and the French Quarter. Well, it is to those not from NOLA. As a local myself, someone who's been through 18 Mardi Gras, I've never gone downtown to watch a parade. I've watched it along St. Charles Avenue between two streets called Napoleon Ave. and Louisiana Ave. So, while you may be inclined to run straight for that hand grenade and the 5-cent bead on the ground, here's a little bit about how I, a local, celebrate one of the most festive holidays of the year.

1. Parades

Lauren Chestnut

While every parade is good and fun to someone not from NOLA, the best of the best are the weekend before -- from Thursday to Sunday — Mardi Gras Day. My personal favorites are Muses, Krewe D'Etat, Thoth, and Tucks. And, do shout throw me something mister/miss, but do not shout anything raunchy at the floats. They normally don't hear it, but that's not gonna make them throw you anything better than a 5-cent bead. Also, while talking about beads, I can spot a tourist straight away if they dive to the ground to pick up a bead they didn't catch -- there will be more thrown, and the ones you catch are better than the ones in the party gravy (don't ask, it's a local term).
Here's a list of the parades: https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/parades/. The best ones are Uptown, and, if you show up anywhere else, don't say I didn't warn you.

2. Location

Beads on beads

Elizabeth Gainey

You need your camp. Your home base. Somewhere to come back to after your eight miles of walking around. Wherever you set up, you're gonna want at least a few folding chairs, and maybe a couch you don't mind leaving on the route after the weekend has ended. Maybe splurge for a canopy for the rain and sun. And, I would use some of those Styrofoam coolers while you're at it. The main key is to bring stuff you don't care about in case they get destroyed. While downtown is the most popular spot for tourists because of its proximity to Bourbon Street, I personally like St. Charles Avenue on the other side of the Garden District (neutral ground side!). There's good local food, lots of people, and the same amount of craziness, but a better atmosphere, in my opinion. Also, there are no barricades, so there's that little bit of danger when you inevitably get pressed up against a float by a stranger. But if you're there for more than one day, maybe try out a few different spots.

3. Attire

Elizabeth Gainey

Have fun with it! While most tourists are over the top with wigs and sequins, etc, it's the most fun time of the year, so you can have fun with what you wear! Although, while neon colors are popular, you can never go wrong with the classic purple, green, and gold look. However, always bring a raincoat and or jacket, because it gets cold at night. Some years Mardi Gras is in 80-degree weather, and others it's in the 40s, so check the forecast and plan accordingly! Also, don't wear your best shoes. Think walking shoes and frat shoes in one; you want something you can walk around in and something you don't mind getting muddy, so leave those nice heels at home. Also, the more beads the better! You better have about two whole bags-worth on at all times.

4. Food

Do not, and I repeat, do not go to a chain or a janky restaurant Downtown or in the French Quarter unless you at least looked it up on Yelp. If you wanna venture out of the tourist trap that is Canal, here's a few options of places I love. R & O's on the lakefront for seafood/Italian, Bear's or Parkway Bakery for a famous po-boy (although, everyone's favorite spots for one of these bad boys differ), or Willie Mae's (or even Popeye's, a parade route staple!) for some good fried chicken. And, bring some food and water for the parade route, because sometimes you just want to snack in the middle of a parade, and if you didn't bring anything you're gonna have to wait on one of the float's throwing you a Moon Pie or bag of Chee Wees.

5. King Cake

I don't think this is enough king cake...

Elizabeth Gainey

This part of Mardi Gras is so important it needed its own section. Please do not go to the nearest supermarket (Rouses or Walmart) to get a king cake. If you wanna feast like a local, head to Dong Phoung, Haydels, or Manny Randazzo's to get the best of the best. Not gonna lie, though, even Rouses has decent king cake, especially in a pinch.

Here's a comprehensive list of some of the local favorites: https://nola.eater.com/maps/best-king-cakes-new-orleans-nola

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12 Christian Songs To Listen To Around Easter

"I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath." -- Psalm 104:33
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Holy Week is just around the corner.

We, as Christians, go through many emotions during this extremely special week. We go through confusion on Maundy Thursday when we take communion just as Jesus did with his disciples, gut-wrenching despair on Good Friday when Jesus was crucified. The sadness continues on Holy Saturday as we yearn for Jesus, and then. pure joy on Sunday when we celebrate His resurrection.

It's an incredible week.

I'm fortunate enough to work at a church where we have a worship service on every day during Holy Week, and you feel every emotion that people feel when you're sitting in the back, taking it all in.

Personally, Easter is my favorite holiday. And worshipping is my favorite thing to do.

I've composed a list of my top 12 favorite songs to sing on Easter Sunday. They're all powerful, no matter what tempo they're at. It doesn't matter if it's slow or fast, the message gets across, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I feel in this day and age that we don't focus on our worshipping outside of church, and I definitely fall into that category. Sometimes I'm so busy with school and other commitments that I forget to dedicate just a little time singing to Jesus. As Psalm 95:1 says, "let us sing to the LORD, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation." Praising God is one of the most important things we could do, and in this oh so special week of Holy Week, all I want to do is sing.

So without further ado, here are my top 12 favorite songs to sing on Easter:

1. "He Has Won" -- Vertical Church Band

2. "In Christ Alone" -- Passion

3. "Death Was Arrested" -- Northpoint

4. "Build Your Kingdom Here" -- Rend Collective

5. "Resurrecting" -- Elevation Worship

6. "Glorified" -- Jared Anderson

7. "Only Wanna Sing" -- Hillsong Young & Free

8. "Spirit of the Living God" -- Vertical Church Band

9. "Great I AM" -- New Life Worship

10. "Multiplied" -- NEEDTOBREATHE

11. "He is Jesus" -- Northpoint

12. "Fix My Eyes" -- For King and Country


Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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31 Thoughts That Haunt Halloween-Lovers All Year Round When It's NOT October

Because Halloween is clearly the superior holiday.

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April is here and that means we are officially six months away from the best month of the whole year: October. It's not just the best because I was born in that month, but because it holds the best holiday of all time: Halloween. For those of us who love Halloween, the months leading up to October drag on. Here are 31 things Halloween lovers are thinking right about now.

1. Six more months until October

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2. Is it too early to start decorating?

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The answer is no. Especially if you never took the decorations down in the first place.

3. Yes, I'm adding my Halloween playlist into my music rotation

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Spooky music = spooky vibes

4. Why does everyone hate Halloween?

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Clearly its the best holiday every

5. Who wants to have a Halloween movie marathon?

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6. 3 a.m. is the witching hour

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7. There should be two Halloweens

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One isn't enough

8. Is it socially acceptable to wear my pumpkin sweater?

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Yes the answer is yes.

9. Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

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10. Candy corn is gross but also an actual mood 

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11. So I'm thinking a Halloween-themed BBQ

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12. What if I named my future child Wednesday?

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That makes me Morticia, right?

13. Did you see that orb? I bet this place in haunted

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14. Was the Monstermash an actual graveyard smash?

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Yeah it was.

15. Why are pumpkins not in season yet?

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16. Who would win: Dracula or Frankenstein's monster?

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The real question.

17. I need my halloween socks

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18. He's JACK the pumpkin king

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KING OF THE PUMPKIN PATCH

19. Trying to stay calm when when October is 6-months away

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20. Ghosts are SO real 

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I say while watching paranormal shows for the 100th time

21. Everyday is Halloween

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22. On Wednesday, we wear black

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23. Lets get spooky

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24. Mess with me and I'll put a spell on you

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25. Where's my broomstick?

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26. That's a bunch of Hocus Pocus

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When people say Christmas is better than Halloween.

27. Raise your hand if you ever felt victimized by people who start Christmas before Halloween

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We all know that one person.

28. The Halloween movie series is classic

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29. I wish I lived in Halloweentown

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Halloween 365 days a year.

30.  How many days until Halloween again???

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31. Halloween is cool

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