Friday, February 23, 2017 – Last Saturday the Chauvins from Amite went with the Chauvins from Ponchatoula to uptown New Orleans. Why??? Because It’s Carnival Time!!! That’s the song heard all over during the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans.
My long time friend Chip Saunders helped me greatly figure out the best way for us to get to and see the parade. There are so many people that go if you don’t have a friend along the route or within several blocks of the route that is willing to let you park in their driveway you are out of luck. Because of that we decided to park far away from the parade and ride the St. Charles street card to the parade. We drove to St. Charles and Broadway parking about a half block from the St. Charles streetcar line.
Streetcars in New Orleans date back to 1893 and travel along four major streets (The St. Charles Avenue Line, the Riverfront Line, the Canal Street Line, and the Loyola Avenue Line.)
We have what’s called Neutral Grounds in New Orleans which is where the streetcar tracks run. It’s the raised grassy/concrete area between streets going in different directions. The picture below with the Broadway street sign shows the tracks the street cars run on.
Here are some pictures of us on the streetcar enjoying the beautiful day and the beautiful ride!
While riding the streetcar along St. Charles Avenue to where it had to stop because of the parade, we enjoyed seeing all the people walking to the parade as well as many of the gorgeous homes lining St. Charles Avenue.
We got off the streetcar at St. Charles and Cadiz which is two blocks from the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles. The parades started a few blocks down Napoleon and turned the corner onto St. Charles Avenue. Three parades followed this route Saturday. First was the Krewe of Ponchartrain, second the Krewe of Choctaw and last was the Krewe of Freret. These are all different groups of people and different floats. We stayed for the first two parades and had a lot of fun! These photos are just a few of the sights we saw! Madisyn worked her way through the crowds to get a great first row spot right behind the barriers.
We saw the children of a friend of ours from Hammond (Nancy Waldo) at the parade on Napoleon. Eddie, Erin and Melissa Rantz grew up at our church Trinity and were with their dad at the parade. Haven’t seen them in years so it was nice to visit and catch up.
Here’s the map that shows the route these parades took. More parades were taking place in other places around the New Orleans Metropolitan Area that day and every day until Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, February 28th.
The St. Charles streetcar line follows the route shown below. You can see we got on at stop C and off at stop F. Some of the most beautiful homes are along the route from F to J but we had to stop at F to see the parade.
Our ride back to the car on the streetcar was delightful. This driver saw we were old and gave us the Senior Discount. The regular $1.25 fare was reduced to 30 cents each! Old age does have some perks! The driver invited Madisyn and a couple of other children to join him at the front while he drove the streetcar. They really enjoyed that! Madisyn looks a bit odd because she had vampire teeth in her mouth!
Loyola University and some beautiful homes were at the corner where we got off the streetcar to go home. This is Madisyn who is shielding her eyes from the sun. Wanted you to see all the beads she was wearing around her neck. That’s vampire blood in her hands! The vampire teeth and blood, the bow headband that lights up and the pink monkey tucked inside the beads were all from the parade!
We took a ride down memory lane on our way home showing Kallie, Madisyn and Misty where Grannie grew up in New Orleans and where Daddy Chip lived when he was a baby and little boy. Fun, fun! We then drove down Canal Blvd. to show them all where Roy and I were married and where Chip and Chad went with us to church when they were little boys before we moved to Hammond. Lakeview Baptist Church is now Harbor Community Church. They flooded and were pretty much destroyed during Katrine. It’s taken years for them to recover but it looks amazing. We couldn’t go in so I took one picture through the front door.
These are some of the pictures we took three weeks after Katrina when the waters receeded. That’s me looking in through a busted out part of the stained glass. It is so amazing to see what it looks like now.
I know that kinda went from woohoo Mardi Gras to ugh Katrina. But New Orleans has history and is recovering slowly but surely. The fact that this church was able to survive when no one lived anywhere near it for months is a blessing God gave the congregation. This was the church I grew up in and was married in. Lots of great history there!
If you would like to learn more about Mardi Gras krewes here are links to the two we saw.
Krewe of Ponchartrain – started in 1975
Ya’ll come back soon, ya’ hear!