Happy Mardi Gras y’all!
Tuesday: 1.75 mile run/ 15:44 min
Another successful Mardi Gras day and Mardi Gras season in the books! This was an especially amazing Mardi Gras to me, and it started off with a new style of celebration (sidebar: I love that you can celebrate Mardi Gras in a thousand different ways, just in NOLA, let alone if you include Lafayette Mardi Gras).
(Double Sidebar: One of my all time favorite Mardi Gras memories is from high school in Monroe Louisiana. Monroe has one Mardi Gras parade and it’s not on Fat Tuesday. It’s called the Krewe of Janus and it rolls on a Saturday night, I think. Monroe doesn’t have the street cleaning system that NOLA does, so the beads and debris were still littered all over the parade route the next morning. My dad and I went running the morning after the parade and followed most of the parade route. Along the way, we collected every nice looking bead we saw until our necks were so stacked with beads that we couldn’t take any more.)
This Mardi Gras started with the Royal Run. I had no idea what that was when Eve from the Steel MagNOLAs emailed everyone Monday. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to a morning run uptown and then back to my house in time to deploy the rest of the day’s plans, but Eve assured me that the run started at 7 and it wasn’t only one lap around Audubon Park; approximately 1.75 miles around. The catch: you got to be there early if you want a tshirt.
I got to the Magazine Street Park Shelter at Audubon Park around 6:20 in the morning. There was no registration, no sign up. Just a line to stand in when they started to pass out t shirts around 6:30. Oh, and King Cake and mimosas.
After we picked up our t-shirts, the lady handing them out told us to thank Mr. Riley because he pays for the whole event every year. I wonder if he started the event or if he was once a runner? An announcer got on the microphone and explained that this was a run, not a race, so there was no timer, no awards, and only one rule: The Queen of Rex always wins. Don’t get in front of her until she peels off the path into the grass, which he assured us she would in about a tenth of a mile.
In just a few minutes, the Queen of Rex rolled up in her black stretch limousine and got out along with her parents. Often times, the queen of a krewe is very young, maybe 19 or 20. This family had a sense of humor, since her mom was sporting a sign that said “Queen Mother” and the Queen herself was wearing furry purple, green, and gold leg warmers.
Then Rex’s (I’ve always heard the King of Rex referred to as just Rex) limousine arrived and Rex toasted his Queen and the city. The Steel MagNOLAs got together and snapped a quick picture just before the cannon went off and the Queen started the race.
As promised, the Queen peeled off quickly and everyone else continued. At various points along the way, some people peeled off as well, no doubt running back home to start their Mardi Gras Day activities. Audubon Park is very pretty to run at, though I rarely make it to that side of town to run, since City Park is so convenient to me. The running/biking loop around the park is paved and there are lots of birds and plants, along with a lake and a golf course to look at. It was the first time I had run hard since the flu, and it felt great to push myself, even if I really wasn’t going very fast.
The race organizers packed really quickly after the start. At the end of the course, I looked for the table of bottled water, and there was nobody left! I was so impressed that the Rex organization and the king and queen had time on their big day to come out and put on this community run though, that I couldn’t mind.
This was such a fun way to start Mardi Gras day, and just another example of the million different celebrations and traditions that go on all over the city and state. It’s pretty amazing, considering that to the rest of the country, it’s just another Tuesday.
I even made it home in time to celebrate one of our Mardi Gras day traditions: Popeye’s chicken for breakfast!
How was your Tuesday? How do you celebrate Mardi Gras?