My First Mardi Gras

New Orleans without Mardi Gras is like Mexican food without spicy sauces, or for me is like orange chicken without sugar. I hear all the time how crazy people are about Mardi Gras, yet it was way beyond my imagination when I was actually in the crowds waiting for the parades. Every year millions of visitors come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, including celebrities. Everyone is dressed up in costumes, homes and businesses are decorated, and the whole city is celebrating. You go from one club to another bar, socializing with lots of different people at each venue.
I was shocked to see people bring ladders to the parade route in order to get the best possible view or a better chance to get souvenirs or throws as they are known by the locals. As an international student, I had no idea who those masked riders were on the floats throwing beads and trinkets to the crowds lining the parade route. I waved my hands, I screamed, and I so much enjoyed the carnival season. If you are lucky, you may even see a rider you recognize such as Clay Randolph, Director of the MFIN program, who rode in the Tucks parade this year.
For one moment, I thought I was drunk because I even saw the police were dancing in the streets. I almost forgot where I was because I heard different languages spoken around me. I guess nothing can stop people’s enthusiasm and craziness about Mardi Gras, not even the rain this year. Now I know where the unfailing hospitality comes from that makes New Orleans one of the top ten most visited cities in the United States. Love Nola! Happy Mardi Gras!
Lin Yang, MFIN Candidate 2014