I wonder if it is actually possible for someone to visit New Orleans without leaving with at least one string of Mardi Gras beads?
Even if you don’t actually visit the city during Mardi Gras, you can find these beads pretty much everywhere–gift shops, souvenir shops, even convenience stores. When I visited New Orleans back in 1997 for the ELCA Lutheran Youth Gathering, I couldn’t resist bringing back a few bead necklaces as a souvenir.
Best part was, I didn’t even have to flash anyone to get them. Because really, that’s just dumb.
For less than $5, I headed home with a bag full of purple, green, and gold necklaces purchased from a little shop on Bourbon Street. Only problem is, what do you do with them? If you’re not actually in New Orleans, it’s sort of weird to just be walking around wearing these necklaces. Well, unless wearing brightly-colored beaded necklaces is just your thing. And even then, it’s still a little weird.
For awhile, I had them draped over my desk lamp and sitting on my desk for decoration. And I may have even wore them once as part of a Halloween costume. Other than that, these have just been sort of sitting around the taking up space for the last 15 years.
Of course, I have to save a few for Miss Cadence, since they make excellent accessories for playing dress up. The rest will be finding a new home.
Get ready to hate on me all you animal rights activists. Yes, this is a genuine alligator head…
I bought it when I visited New Orleans for the first time back in 1997. A group of high school students from my church headed to the bayou for the ELCA Lutheran Youth Gathering, and this was one of the souvenirs I brought home.
Yes, it was an impulse buy. Had I not just eaten a plate full of alligator in a restaurant, I might not have made such an odd purchase. But, what can I say? New Orleans does strange things to people. It’s like some crazy voodoo magic.
If it tells you anything about the level of security in the airports in the 90’s, Mr. Gator traveled in my carry-on bag, wrapped in a pair of socks and a plastic grocery sack, and the TSA agent didn’t even bat an eye when my bag rolled by on the x-ray screen.
After returning home, Mr. Gator earned himself a prominent place on my bookshelf, and stayed there ever since. He traveled with me when I moved to New York, then to Arizona, and back to Nebraska. Each time, he has been unpacked, dusted off, and displayed.
I found the box where Mr. Gator had been packed away in bubble wrap. I pulled him out, set him on the floor, and emptied the rest of the box. When I got up to put a clock up on a shelf above the couch, I accidentally stepped on him and heard a loud crack.
Poor Mr. Gator. I’m not even going to post a photo of the aftermath. I’d like to remember him in his glory. RIP Mr. Gator. My shelf will be a little emptier, and you will be sorely missed.