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Mardi Gras: Prospective Of A NOLA Native

February 21, 2012
John Eason, Serralles USA Vice President & National Sales Manager was born and bred in the Big Easy. Sarah Sable had the pleasure of attending Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans with John and the Don Q team last year. There’s no better tour guide than him.
Embarrassingly, she didin’t know much about the history or traditions of Mardi Gras. Fortunately, Sarah had the opportunity to gain the local perspective from an authority on the subject.
SS:  I understand that today is the kick-off of Mardi Gras season – what does that mean exactly? How many days does Mardi Gras last for?
JE: Mardi Gras runs around two weeks and is a huge series of parades, masked balls, and parties. Its over at Midnight on Fat Tuesday and the next day is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. People eat, drink, party, right up to the final minute till the start of lent
SS:  What do the people of New Orleans typically eat on Fat Tuesday? Is there a designated cuisine?
JE: Food is one of the beautiful things about New Orleans. Parade watching is an outside activity. It can be anything from traditional fair like gumbo, red beans and rice to BBQ Hamburgers and Sausage. It is the one time of year I can eat Popeye’s Spicy Fried Chicken and have a clear conscience! Another item always around the table is the King Cake. It’s a doughy cake shaped in an oval ring. There is a baby baked in it and the tradition is the person that gets the baby in his or her piece has to host the next party.
SS:  More importantly, what’s the signature Mardi Gras cocktail?
JE: Signature? Tough question, after all New Orleans is home to the “Frozen” drive through Daiquiri Shop and probably one of the biggest Crown Royal markets in the country. Mojitos are very popular. When our family and friends get together I have converted everyone to Don Q or Blackbeard. One of my cousins and her boyfriend are both bartenders and they have control of the drinks. Rumor has it a new Don Q punch has been created this year and I can’t wait.
SS: Where’s the best place to watch the Mardi Gras parade? What bars do you typically hang-out during Mardi Gras season?
JE: Parades run in several cities and parishes all around the state. The routes can take them through normally busy highways and throughout residential neighborhoods. I always prefer the New Orleans parades because that’s what I was raised on. There is nothing more fun than having a family or friend with a house on the parade route. The French Quarter is a mad house during Mardi Gras! Pat O’Brien’s, Razoos, Bourbon Street Blues Club are always great but a bit touristy at Mardi Gras. Three of my personal favorite hangouts are The Rusty Nail, Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar, and Cure. New Orleans never closes and late nights at Ms. Mae’s, F&M Patio Bar, and Snake and Jakes Christmas Tree Lounge are good trouble. It’s also a great time to catch live music at Tipitinas, Rock & Bowl, or anywhere Rebirth Brass Band or the Soul Rebels are playing.
SS:  If you were bringing your wife and kids to Mardi Gras, where would you take them? Is there such thing as a family/kid-friendly version of your previous response?
JE: There really are two Mardi Gras. One is all about locals, family, and friends. This takes place all over the city. Most of my family meets Uptown at my cousin’s house one block off the Parade Route. In Metairie they host a day calle
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