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University of Houston-Clear Lake
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As a Louisiana native, Mardi Gras runs deep in my veins. Ever since I was little, we attended parades in New Orleans (NOLA) and around Baton Rouge. Since I lived south of I-10, Mardi Gras was a holiday and we were off school. We still drive to Lake Charles to get King Cakes because apparently, Texans think it’s just a cinnamon roll (where my cream cheese at?). As I have been to NOLA’s Mardi Gras celebrations, I decided to finally go to Mardi Gras! Galveston.
I went Saturday of both weekends, Feb. 3 and Feb. 10, because if you aren’t celebrating for two weeks then you’re doing it wrong. Both nights were rainy and muggy, but it was surprisingly not bad. The beer was expensive and there was limited bathroom use, but hey, that’s Mardi Gras.
Galveston really made Mardi Gras feel like a festival. The event took place in a gated area so you can carry your go cups everywhere (getting that NOLA feeling). Everywhere you look there are food trucks, tents, vendors, and country and EDM performers. I was kind of bummed there was no jazz music, Mardi Gras Indians or costumes.
I was lucky to have some friends working at the event in the window of Mediterranian Chef. The restaurant served as our home base and our favorite place to buy our beers. Mediterranean Chef will be moving to Friendswood and opening in a month under the name as Jado’z Grill House.
While this made for a fun and entertaining night, I never got the real Mardi Gras feeling. People were literally begging for beads and resorted to paying for them. No. You earn those beads. There is an art to catching flying beads from floats, and practice makes perfect. Maybe the balcony parties were just being stingy and holding out for flashers, but I’m just used to beads flying from every direction resulting in an overabundance of beads.
The parades were great. There were only a few compared to New Orleans where they run pretty much all day and night. The drum lines, band and drill teams from the local high schools were the real show. Those students put their heart into their music and performances and made the parade interesting. One downside to the parade: they only threw beads, there were no koozies, hats, doubloons, etc.
Finally, when you go to Mardi Gras in NOLA, you meet people from all over the country who come together to celebrate one of New Orleans’ most famous holidays. Because you have Cajuns with Minnesotans and New Yorkers, the celebration gets a lot more interesting. At Mardi Gras! Galveston, it was just people from Galveston up to Houston – and I already know all of these people.
As a result, I enjoyed Mardi Gras! Galveston. Despite getting stuck in an elevator for an hour (thank you for your speedy service Galveston Fire Department) and dealing with road closures, I enjoyed myself. I will definitely go back next year if I’m not going to New Orleans.
Mardi Gras! Galveston Feb. 3
Mardi Gras! Galveston Feb. 10
Also published on Medium.