The Austin Chronicle Guide to SXSW 2017

Eastbound & Down: Mardi Party Links, Pt. 2

A li'l lagniappe for your last-minute Mardi Gras trip

Throw me something, sister! (DIVA from 2008)
Throw me something, sister! (DIVA from 2008) (photo by KXM)

Here's Part 2, the wrap of our pre-Mardi Gras ramp up. Austin's Carnival culture seems a lot less active than in recent previous years, but there are plenty of day-trippable destinations if you still want to get in on the fun. Here are some links to NOLA walking (and less-mainstream) groups, as well as a few other Galveston and Lake Charles go-sees.

Every year, I face an internal struggle: To go to Mardi Gras or to not to go to Mardi Gras. Friends who know what I do for a living and for whom I work have questioned my sanity in taking a raucous road trip so close to SXSW. But to me, the entire late-Winter-into-Spring season is a marathon, not – as the cliché says – a sprint. Here's how I see it: Mardi Gras is my last huddle before the big skrimmage.

So, yes, I am headed to Mardi Gras. Sure, I have my favorites and my soft-spot comfort zones, but each Carnival season, I try to check out some parade or event I've never seen.

The Houston Chronicle did a decent piece on New Orleans' smaller, upstart krewes, including Krewe du Vieux, Box Wine, and Karina Nathan's the Krewe of Kolossos.

Here are links to other NOLA groups, as well as some Galveston and Lake Charles fun:

Gay Mardi Gras from the Southern Decadence gang
‘titRex Krewe (their event has passed but their pics are adorbs)
Krewe of St. Anne
Krewe of Eris
And then there's this: Couldn't find a general link, so here's a reposting this from Mardi Gras Parades Schedule (dang it, I love Pete):
Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Walking Club
Founded: 1961

The Half-Fast Walking Club is led by Pete Fountain. Originally all on foot, in recent decades it has also featured one or two small floats. Fountain and other local jazz musicians play through much of the parade. The krewe's current route, basically unchanged since the mid-1970s, starts very early on Mardi Gras morning, at world famous Commander's Palace Restaurant on Washington Avenue in the Garden District. The krewe then proceeds downtown on St. Charles Avenue and after a brief interlude on Canal Street, enters the French Quarter at Bourbon Street winds around the Quarter and eventually ends up at the New Orleans Riverfront Hilton in the early afternoon.

Galveston has just opened two new attractions on the Strand.
Haunted Mayfield Manor
Galveston hotels might still be available

Mardi Gras Museum
Even if you are just driving through on your way east, consider a stop in at the Lake Charles CVB. Every Mardi Gras season, their main hall features the cute-cute-cute shoebox float competition. We make a point of stopping here each time we get into Louisiana, anyway, but the shoeboxes are an added draw.
Shoebox Floats

Eastbound & Down: Mardi Party Links, Pt. 1
Eastbound & Down: Austin Invades NOLA
I'm a Tosser

All right, darlin's, see you at the parade. (And watch the blog for possible coverage while out there. I may or may not hit the keyboard 'til I get back.) Let the marathon begin!

More Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras 2015: Happy Fat Tuesday!
Mardi Gras 2015: Happy Fat Tuesday!
As Austin celebrates, we share some fun from NOLA and Galveston

Kate X Messer, Feb. 17, 2015

Mardi Gras 2015: Local Gras and a Carnaval Comeback
Mardi Gras 2015: Local Gras and a Carnaval Comeback
Samba Police reassemble after 15-year hiatus

Nina Hernandez, Feb. 13, 2015

More by Kate X Messer
The Gay Place: It's Aliiive!
It's Aliiive!
You can't keep a Gay Place down; just ask Sarah Marloff

Jan. 20, 2016

Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You
Gay Place: I'm Not Gonna Miss You

Jan. 15, 2016


Mardi Gras, carnival, parades, travel, I-10, New Orleans, Galveston, Lake Charles, parades, roadtrip

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