Mardi Gras vs. Bourbon Street

Mardi Gras is over now, so I’m a little late to help this year. But I’m writing this in hopes that some guy will stumble across it and remember it next year.

There’s a strange thing, founded in a misunderstanding, about Mardi Gras. I’ve noticed it before, but the number of times I heard or saw it yesterday baffled me. Men, saying to women (whom they don’t necessarily know that well) some variation on the following:

Wow, look at those beads! I better not ask where you got them!

If you’re entirely unfamiliar with New Orleans, Bourbon Street has a reputation for debauchery. It’s really only half of Bourbon Street that deserves that reputation, but whatever. Yes, women — and more than a few men — do bare their bodies sometimes in exchange for cheap beads thrown from balconies. But that happens year-round. It happens more anytime there’s a big crowd in New Orleans — Super Bowls, Southern Decadence, Essence/Voodoo/Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras — but it’s a Bourbon Street thing, not a Mardi Gras tradition. Millions of strands of beads are thrown from parades, which are overwhelmingly family-friendly affairs. If you whip out your tits or your dick on St. Charles Avenue or in Mid-City, you’re going to jail. So yes, it’s certainly possible to trade flesh for beads in a certain neighborhood of New Orleans. But please, fellas, think about what you’re insinuating before asking a woman that question.

5 thoughts on “Mardi Gras vs. Bourbon Street

  1. I’m so naive – I didn’t know anything about this until Popeye’s Chicken (In Colorado) was giving out beads during the Mardi Gras season. When my 4 year-old son proudly displayed his precious, purple set to my Bachelor Brother who has attended the Real Mardis Gras, he smiled and said, “So, bub, what did you have to do to get those?”
    And child unit replied, “Nothin’ the nice lady with chicken just gave ’em to me…”



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