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!