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I'm Taking My Baby to Mardi Gras

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Before you judge me, listen up!

elizabeth hurchalla

Elizabeth Hurchalla: I know, I know. Mardi Gras? With a 4-month-old? Sure, crowds of half-naked, fully intoxicated people will be swarming the streets of New Orleans; it's hardly the first place you'd think to take an infant. And yes, I'm severely sleep deprived, so I can't vouch for my own good judgment right now. But hey, my husband's never been, and we have friends with a place there who have been begging us to come for years, and ... well, I didn't want us to end up being One of Those Families Who Never Do Anything or Go Anywhere Now That They Have a Baby. Hitting New Orleans for Mardi Gras seems like the best way to ensure that we never end up that way. Or else that we barely make it back alive and never leave the house again.

On the plus side, I just Googled "Mardi Gras for families" and found an article affirming that Mardi Gras can, indeed, be family-friendly. Of course, the article also advises parents to write their cell number in marker on their child's arm. Hmm, maybe we are crazy.

But listen: We've traveled with our baby, Dean, once before -- to Boise, Idaho, a town much like New Orleans, really. Or maybe not. Okay, so visiting my husband's aunt for Christmas wasn't really a fair trial for the French Quarter. But we did score free airline tickets by volunteering to get bumped on that trip, which made our Mardi Gras adventure financially feasible. The airline put us up in a hotel, so we ordered room service and had a crib sent up. The honeymoon didn't last, though: We soon realized that the baby's blankets were still packed in our luggage. While Dean wailed, we tried swaddling him first in a towel, then in a king-sized sheet, then finally we just accepted that very little rest was going to be had by any of us that night.

This time, we'll just Baby-Bjorn him and take him out for an evening on the town. If he wakes up and wants to nurse, well, more beads for us, right? Okay, I'll admit I'm a little nervous. But if life is a parade, we want to give our kid a front-row seat!

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17 comments so far | Post a comment now
CityMommy Boston February 10, 2010, 8:44 AM

I’m taking BOTH of my babies to Mardi Gras in Galveston, TX. Not as crazy as The Big Easy, but it’s still a party. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Anonymous February 10, 2010, 9:17 AM

I think its funny you asked people not to judge you. You know this is momlogic right?

moonbeam February 10, 2010, 9:18 AM

As a mother of 3 young adults, 18-21, I’m all for giving your kids a front row seat on life! Hope ya’ll have a bunch of fun!

Just a little advice… it’s normal when your kids are little to want to experience everything with them.

Just be careful and make sure you have enough alone time with your spouse. We had 3 in 3 yrs and when they went off to school, we realized we didn’t know how to just be “us” instead of “mom and dad”
Enjoy the little one… they grow up so fast!

stella McKay February 10, 2010, 9:22 AM

I think you are insane.
you cannot talk me into any good reason whyyou think this is acceptable to take an infant to mardi gras. I think you are going for your own selfish reasons.
get a baby sitter, call a family member to keep your precious little one. or just wait. mardi gras will not go anywhere, take the time now to enjoy motherhood and what not.
isn’t there other places you have never been? go there. think of the BABY, not yourself.

Cheryl February 10, 2010, 9:36 AM

I am not exactly the mardi gras type, but I say go for it! I think every mom has to decide what they are going to give up for mommyhood. It probably is not going to be as fun as if you went without the baby, but the trip will certainly give you perspective.

Mic February 10, 2010, 3:42 PM

Stella sounds like a barrel of fun! Nonya! My husband is from there & went all the time as a kid w/his family, & he is still alive & enjoyed it so very much!

Kat @ For the Love of Chaos February 10, 2010, 6:05 PM

Yeah, I think you’re nuts. You are totally underestimating New Orleans during Mardi Gras. But… it is your family and your decision. I would never THINK of taking an infant to NO - ESPECIALLY during Mardi Gras. I would sooner take my 4 month old to a night club than parading down Canal/Bourbon. Okay, maybe not a night club, but still… just as ridiculous. Just my two cents…

Melanie February 10, 2010, 6:07 PM

I’m a New Orleans native. Mardi Gras and Bourbon St. are NOT synonymous. There are loads of things to do with babies and kids, and tons of parades that are family friendly. People need to mind their own freaking business.

Anonymous February 10, 2010, 8:21 PM

Who gives a crap!

anonymom February 10, 2010, 8:48 PM

I live outside of Houston, not far from Galveston and Mardi Gras here is nothing like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Sure they both have parades and their are beads thrown, but it’s very family friendly. I’ve taken my kids to the children’s parade and they love the Barkus Meowus parade which is all pets.

Have fun Citymommy! Maybe I’ll see you down on the Island.

Kelly February 10, 2010, 9:18 PM

There are kids living in New Orleans and they participate in Mardi Gras. As a native New Orleanian I can tell you I would take my baby to Mardi Gras. Just stick to the family areas (St. Charles between Napoleon and Jefferson) and stay out of the quarter. Or, if you have to go to the quarter go during the day on any day but Tuesday and it will be fine.

Have fun! And, who dat?!

gEtCrchN February 16, 2010, 8:58 AM


laura February 16, 2010, 9:05 AM

qirl you is crazy!!!takkinq your baby to mardi gras!!!but hey qo head and do yo it up and show yo baby how to live it up as well…

Mara February 16, 2010, 10:06 AM

Right on, Elizabeth! As a resident of New Orleans, allow me to advise you that contrary to what MTV would like people to think, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is actually 98% family-friendly. Just stay off of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter when it starts getting dark. That’s when people come out and start acting like imbeciles and do outrageous things for a cheap string of beads.
St. Charles and the surrounding residential areas are completely oriented to families- and are probably the most fun parades in the city. In fact, good luck finding a front-row spot before the other families set up their barbecues and lawn chairs along the parade route. There is no insane drunken nudity, just music, dancing, and a chance to be with your neighbors and have a good time. I applaud your decision to bring your children and let them experience the celebration!

Kaye February 16, 2010, 10:24 AM

The negative comments are made by people who have never been to NOLA’s Mardi Gras. Would I take an infant to the night parades downtown near the Quarter? No, because there is a crush of people.
But there are many, many kids, parents, grandsparents at the parades in Uptown and in all the suburbs. The parents even make these cool ladders with seats in them so their kids can see the parade and catch more beads. There are kids marching in the parades! It is a very fun event.

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