Before you judge me, listen up!
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!