Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Today is Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Day! If we were still living in New Orleans, everyone would be home from work and school today (and yesterday) - it's a major holiday there. Here, Ken had to go to work, and Craig is at school (Jamie is still badly crashed), but we still celebrate! Craig went to school with Mardi Gras beads on, we had our New Orleans CDs playing at breakfast this morning, and tonight, we'll go to a friend's house for our annual Mardi Gras Popeye's dinner (Popeye's originated in New Orleans and these friends lived there the same time we did).

The party on Saturday was great (check out my Mardi Gras tiara in the photo!). I felt better than I have at any Mardi Gras party since getting CFS - it was a really good day for me, by some miracle. We had about 15 adults here and 6 kids, and we served jambalya, red beans and rice, spicy shrimp, Zapp's potato chips, and King Cake and bread pudding with whiskey sauce for dessert. Food is the focal point for any New Orleans-style celebration!

Zapp's are made in a tiny factory in rural Louisiana and are the most amazing potato chips in the world! They make all sorts of wonderful flavors, but our favorites are Cajun Crawtator and Cajun Dill (if you like dill pickles, you will love these!). They are perfect for those OI salt cravings!! You can order them yourself at the Zapp's website or by calling 1-800-HOT CHIP (unfortunately, they can only ground ship - sorry for my overseas friends - we learned the hard way that the bags pop open like a gunshot with the pressure change of an airplane).

In my pre-CFS days, our Mardi Gras party was a much bigger affair - it grew to about 50-60 guests! We also went through a lot more alcohol in those days (I stuck to Barq's cream soda Saturday night - another local La. favorite), and partied into the wee hours of the morning. Now, everyone is gone by 10:30 pm! Honestly, though, I actually like the party more now. It had gotten so big that it was just too much work for Ken and I. Now, it's just close friends, and we have time to enjoy their company.

Back when we lived in New Orleans, Mardi Gras was a 4-day long party! We'd spend all day and night Saturday and Sunday going to parades and catching beads and cups and other assorted goodies, walking around the city, hanging out in bars, and going to parties. By the time we got home each night (or morning), we'd each be wearing so many beads that it would take an hour to untangle them and get them all off!

We always rested on Monday, then we'd meet our friends on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am at the Popeye's on St. Charles Street, where we'd eat spicy fried chicken and red beans & rice for breakfast! Then we'd find a good spot for the Zulu parade and hope to snag one of the coveted Zulu gold coconuts (no luck, though I once caught some Zulu panties!) We'd go to parades all day, then go home - totally exhausted - by about 5 pm. Wednesday at work was never very productive! Those were good times - I'm glad I got to experience all this when I was young and healthy! This photo is of Ken and I with my mom and her husband, Ed, during Mardi Gras (about 1989?). We always had lots of guests for Mardi Gras!

If you want to catch a glimpse of the Mardi Gras parades from the comfort of your laptop, check out the Parade Cam at nola.com. You can also see all sorts of slideshows and videos of parades and other Mardi Gras festivities at the site.

I guess I better get back to work for now. Hope you have a happy Mardi Gras!


Shelli said...

I'm glad you had such a wonderful time! The party looks fantastic, and the food sounds out of this world. I'm so happy you were feeling good, too -- what a blessing!

Unknown said...

Today is Pancake Day for people in the UK! I was in the US a few years ago when it was Mardi Gras, I think I was in Las Vegas or in LA and I got a ton of beads from people. I've still got them now!

The food sounds yummy, even though I'm not sure what some of it is! I'm going to get started on eating my pancakes now!

Robyn S. said...

Hey Sue! Thanks for all the nice comments on my blog-- you always brighten my day!

I had no idea you used to live in New Orleans. My best friend from college is from there, and I spent a week down there visiting her once. I loved it, from the crawfish boil her family threw to the sweet Jazz bars we went to in the French quarter. Much love for Nawlins!

Hope you had a good Mardi Gras today! Also, maybe you can answer a question for me and my mom... why do they put a plastic baby in king cake??


Dusty Bogwrangler said...

Such lovely memories and images. And how great this year coincided with a good CFS day :-)

I've just had one of last night's pancakes wrapped around some bacon for breakfast. Yum.

Sue Jackson said...

Robyn -

Glad to hear you've had a chance to enjoy New Orleans - it's such a special place!

Believe it or not, Mardi Gras has religious meaning! Mardi Gras season begins 12 days after Christmas, on the epiphany, the day that the 3 Wise Men (aka Kings) brought gifts to baby Jesus. So, the King Cake is a representation of the gifts, and the baby represents Jesus. The tradition that whoever finds the baby has to host the next party and/or buy the next King Cake...that's pure New Orleans!


Sue Jackson said...

Jo -

yes, that's right...hope you enjoyed Pancake Day!


Dominique said...

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. You're photos definitely showed how much fun you all were having and how much better you were feeling.

I'm so glad your celebration turned out so well!

BTW, you have some really cute boys! Take after their mom, do they?

Robyn S. said...

Hey Sue! I gave you an award on my blog-- check it out!

Sugar Doll Award!


Pamela said...

Somehow I missed this post on Tuesday and just today I was wondering how your Mardis Gras went! I really wanted to do something this year, but just wasn't feeling up to it -- that seems to be my life lately .. sometimes I think I should live life and live with the consequences .... your an inspiration for throwing this fabulous party!