We talked with Marquita from Marquita Travels, to discuss her favorite memories of Mardi Gras and how she celebrates now with her twins. We were also curious as to how the spirit of the holiday would be kept alive this year during Covid19 and what the city and its residents were doing to stay safe while celebrating.
Q. Could you tell us a little about you and your family?
A. I’m The Traveling Twin Mama, traveling the world with my husband and twin two-year-old boys and we are based in New Orleans.
Prior to the birth of our twins, my husband and I loved to travel and try new experiences. Once we became pregnant with our twins, we were continually told that our travels would have to stop once our boys were born.
We made it our goal to show our boys as much of the world as possible. So far, our boys have explored 5 countries and been on over 25 trips.
Through our travels, we want to inspire and educate other families to travel the world. The world is our oyster, so let’s explore it!
Q. Mardi Gras always seems like a grown-up event, what is there to do for kids?
A. There is so much to do during Mardi Gras for the kiddos. In all honesty, most of the activities – parades, second lines, etc. which tourists feel are more for adults are very welcoming for the kids. I’d recommend that you do those outside of the tourist locations like the French Quarter and Downtown and do those activities in local communities like uptown, Mid-City, and Treme, where the parties are much more family-friendly
The kids also get to experience the celebration with lots of activities from their schools, including their own parades.
Q. Are there any kid-friendly neighborhood/parades that you would recommend?
A. So many from Uptown to Mid-City and Treme. Basically any neighborhood outside of the French Quarter (and maybe the Marigny and Bywater).
Q. What is your favorite memory of Mardi Gras?
A. Before we had kids, the highlight was the Zulu Ball. Zulu is one of the Mardi Gras Krewes who parade on Mardi Gras day. Each Krewe has a coronation ball which turns into the biggest party. The Zulu Ball normally goes into the early morning hours, with some of the top artists performing.
Now as a parent, the best part is our kid’s smiles as they enjoy the music and fun of the parades. They absolutely love it!
Q. Any tips for tourists on how to prepare for Mardi Gras and what to expect?
A. Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint.
Be prepared for large crowds, loud music, and a lot of action.
Do a little research to understand which week you want to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras as we have parades for the 2 weeks prior to Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday). If you want fewer crowds and a more chilled experience, come the first week. If you want to experience the full-on party and some of the top parades, then come the second week. The most popular parades start on the Wednesday before Fat Tuesday and go through Fat Tuesday.
Q. Mardi Gras this year has been canceled, how do you keep the celebration alive?
A. Well the Mayor says Mardi Gras isn’t canceled, it’s just different.
The residents of New Orleans take their traditions to heart; therefore, many people have decorated their homes. Now there is a Krewe of House Floats where many people will tour different neighborhoods to see the beautifully decorated homes.
Also, a lot of people are doing king cake tastings – purchasing king cakes from various places and trying them on their own or with their “Krewe”
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. When you are in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras – try not to do just the touristy things, i.e. celebrating only in the French Quarter.
The locals, especially the Black locals, have such a unique way to celebrate with the Mardi Gras Indians. These individuals dress in beautiful, colorful, and handmade costumes. To be able to witness this would be a very special treat.
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Love this article Marquita and Marta! What is King Cake? Is it like the Galette des rois in France? i.e. puff pastry with almond paste filling and a token… and whoever gets the token is king or queen?