When I was in junior high and high school, my dad worked in the accounting and credit departments for several riverboat casinos throughout the midwest. At the time, states were just starting to legalize riverboat gambling and my dad had decades of experience working as a cage manager at casinos in Las Vegas and Tahoe so he moved around a lot, getting one casino up and running, then moving along to another one. The fun part was, we got to visit him in a new city every year.
The year that he lived in Vicksburg, Mississippi (where we visited several civil war battlefields) he asked where we’d like to go for a road trip. I was a HUGE fan of Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles back then, so of course I wanted to go to New Orleans. My dad wondered what the heck a teenager wanted to do in New Orleans, but just seeing the French Quarter, the hauntingly beautiful above-ground cemeteries, and trying some real cajun cooking was enough for me.
I even managed to find Anne Rice’s house on a historic walking tour and stood outside, looking up at the globe sitting in an upstairs window that I’d seen behind her in many interviews.
One of the funny things I remember about New Orleans was driving through the French Quarter early one weekday morning and seeing the remnants of a raging party. This was nowhere near Mardi Gras time and the middle of the week, so I can just imagine how crazy it gets for Mardi Gras. Maybe someday I’ll go back.
I can still celebrate Mardi Gras closer to home, though. Today you can find me sharing the best places to celebrate Mardi Gras in Phoenix with Parachute by Mapquest.
Photo credit: Randy Heinitz via Flickr cc