I’ve been looking back recently about how I would go to Mardi Gras parades in Slidell and Lafayette. I have noticed how different the parades are from here but how it’s still fun to go to them.
Slidell, “Dirtydell”, is my hometown, and the only interesting places you could find were Starbucks and the Fremeaux Town Center. The Fremeaux Town Center sounds fun the first time, but when it’s the only place for teens to shop and eat, it feels like walking into a classroom full of judgemental 13-year-old girls.
The main thing Slidell knows how to do right is the Mardi Gras parades. When walking down a few streets, you can see families playing football with each other, people from your high school in a big group talking about the next test they’re about to cheat on and your own family telling you to come back to the stop they told you to remember.
I used to love meeting up with friends and walking up and down the streets to check out our crushes from our math or English classes. Every time I think about it now, I want to curl up in a ball over how cringey we were, but it was high school.
I grew up a good bit of my life in Slidell, and as much as I’m not so fond of the town, I still miss how rambunctious it gets when Mardi Gras season begins.
Since I’ve moved to Lafayette for college, I started staying here for Mardi Gras. Last year was my first experience in Lafayette for Mardi Gras, but it was honestly a little disappointing.
The floats were not as big as I thought they were going to be and everything about the parades felt more like a parade you’d set up for an elementary school event. It was also a little disappointing that the parades weren’t as loud as I thought that they were going to be.
The main thing that stuck with me about the parades were the people I was with for Mardi Gras. I spent most of the last season with my old roommates, and it was a blast. We caught candy, beads, swords and even stuffed animals.
I think that it’s really important to have the right people with you during Mardi Gras parades, whether it be in Lafayette or Slidell. I remember in high school when I went to one of the bigger parades downtown in Slidell, but didn’t have the best time because the people that I was hanging out with kept getting into squabbles with one another.
One of the main things I really do miss in Slidell is going to the parades with my parents. We used to live in a house that was down the street from the main parade route. Mardi Gras used to bring me and my family closer because I would always love to walk down the street with my parents and just listen to some of the stories of their parade experiences in their youth.
Sometimes I call them just to ask what their Mardi Gras was like in college and just take the time to listen and hear how excited they are to tell me the stories they want to share. It’s not the same as being face-to-face with them, but it still feels nostalgic to me.
There are moments where I really miss being with family and friends, but as I excel through college, I enjoy Mardi Gras in Lafayette with all my friends in college.