Louisianians start Mardi Gras traditions at a young age

At my first mardi gras parade!

At my first mardi gras parade!

Family Gras parade

Family Gras parade

I attended my first Mardi Gras parade last year in Mandeville. It was a family gras parade and I was surrounded by children. When the floats began to roll through, those kids and I had two very different reactions.The floats were filled with dozens of people THROWING things, AT YOU. All of a sudden beads and trinkets were raining down on me and instictively I covered my face with my arms. It was terrifying! Especially when moments later, a bundle of beads whipped me across my back. Ouch! I looked around to see how others were reacting to the assault, only to realize that children two decades younger than me were standing atop ladder seats, snatching up the souvineers with great skill. I was flabbergasted! It was then that I understood, these kids weren’t scared like I was because the Mardi Gras culture is a part of who they are and the culture is instilled in them at a very young age.

This idea was reinforced when I visited Berg Jones Elementary school to cover their school Mardi Gras parade yesterday. The parade featured their 4 and 5 year old pre-k students, it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Many of the teachers said the parade was a great way to teach the students about their Louisiana culture and by the end of it, the little kids were shouting, “Throw me something mister!” and “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” (means ‘Let the good times roll’ in french!)

Check out the story I did on the school parade!

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There is no Christmas break in the real world.

Breaking into the real world for the first time has its harsh realities. I think the most shocking has to be that vacation time is noticeably absent. Think about it, since kindergarten we’ve all had a cushy 2 month long summer break, 2 weeks off during Christmas and a whole week of spring break to enjoy. In college at Christopher Newport University, I remember all of us complaining that we didn’t get some of the federal holidays off, like presidents day, etc; That’s hilarious to me now, because guess what? In the real world, at least in my field, there are no days off (the news never stops!) Listen, now I’m not complaining, I’m grateful I even get weekends off, but it is a harsh reality to walk into straight out of college.

I know many people I graduated college with that are employed now can relate with not getting time off. We are the newbies of this “real world” and we have to pay our dues so those that have their own families can have vacation time to spend with them. One day, I’ll be able to take a two week vacation while all of the fresh out of college reporters have to work for me.

Maybe the K-12 and college system spoiled all of us, who knows!

Skyping with my family and my dog Muffin!

This was the first holiday season that I spent away from my family. I was fortunate enough to go to a college that was 2 hours away from my hometown, so I was always able to make it back for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a little weird not being in Stafford, Virginia for the holidays but it certainly gave me a new appreciation for technology. Even though I am a 20 hour drive from my family, I was able to spend time with them during the holidays through Skype. I got to see my relatives and see their holiday feasts on my iPhone’s Skype application. It was wonderful!

With most of the KNOE 8 News Team

The positive about being away from family is finding a family away from home. In college, my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, was my home away from home. In the “real world” it is my KNOE 8 News family that keeps me going. Because the City of Monroe is a small market (market 138), many of us that work there as reporters, anchors, and weather people are straight out of college and a long way from home. So we’re all in kind of the same boat and act as a support system for each other.

On Thanksgiving Day, the sports reporter Cameron Cox, invited all of the KNOE 8 News people without family over to his apartment for a Thanksgiving dinner. We each brought a dish, sat around a table, said a prayer of thanks and ate together. For Christmas, meteorologist Kyle Myers opened up his home for a Christmas party. It was fun to be able to have a moment to celebrate Christmas since I knew I wouldn’t be doing anything special on the actual day. On New Years Eve, the KNOE 8 News crew got together again to ring in the New Year.

Ringing in the New Year with the female anchors of KNOE 8 News!

I am so fortunate to be able to work with amazingly talented people that I also get to call my friends. I remember back when I interned at the Norfolk NBC affiliate, my main mentor Lavoy Harrell told me that the only way to enjoy your job is to make it fun and enjoy the people you work with. I can honestly say that I have so much fun at work and love the people I work with. I am excited to see what the year 2012 will bring!