Contrary to popular belief, Mardi Gras isn’t just about Beer, Beads and Breasts. The festival and parades were actually described to us by one locals as being put on “for the locals, not for the tourists”. A family affair, outside of Bourbon street you’ll see festival revelers of all ages, and even a few local canines taking part. Here’s some images from the parades that took place when I was there in 2012.
Masked revelers enjoy a Mardi Gras Parade
One of the half-dozen music groups walking through the French Quarter as part of the Barkus parade during Mardi Gras.
A rider on a Mardi Gras float throws beads overboard
One of the younger parade attendees toots her own horn.
One of the impressive marching bands charges down the street with attitude
The "Centerpiece" of these float were women dressed in colorful regalia.
The "Krewe of Barkus" is the only Mardi Gras parade centered around dogs and donates all of its proceeds to local shelters.
An injured dog is transformed into a mock Mardi Gras float.
A drummer steps out of formation to ham it up with the crowd.
I'm pretty sure this was a roller derby group dancing down as part of a parade.
This girl shouts and waves in an attempt to get a good Mardi Gras "Throw". The beads are the most famous of these, but the locals seek better throws like plush animals and doubloons.
Throughout the French Quarter you can find little shops selling high quality, hand made Mardi Gras masks - real works of art.