Jean's Arrival/Lundi Gras...Mardi Gras Day...
Jean arrived yesterday. Freddy, Alice and I gave her a warm welcome at the airport. When we got back to the house, Big Freddy brought us four different traditional Po Boy Sandwiches to eat. They are sandwiches served on a roll and "dressed" like a regular sandwich (with lettuce, mayonaisse and tomatoes) with an extra ingredient added in. We had an oyster sandwich, shrimp sandwiches and a roast beef sandwich. We also got some NOLA potato chips that I can't remember the name of. I liked the Cajun Dill ones the most. There use to be a place here called "We Never Close" that sold the best Po' Boys, but of course, due to Katrina, it is no longer in business.
Jean made us these cute tote bags to carry our stuff in when we go to our different research sites. They have pictures of her grandparents and my great grandparents on them and "Atlas Family Research." They are too cute. Jean also brought some pieces of the quilt she is making that will be on the display at the family reunion. It will include pictures of my grandmother, great aunts, uncles and great grandparents. The pieces she brought with her are awesome. I can't wait to see how they will turn out.
We were going to go to Orpheus on Lundi Gras, but because Mardi Gras day was the next day, we decided to skip it this year to go to bed early to be ready for Mardi Gras day.
Yes, there is preparation for Mardi Gras day! We prepare food the day and night before to take with us on the parade route. It's not like you can show up at like 10am and get a spot. We actually have to leave the house at least by 6:30am to get a spot by 7am. This year, it seems like everyone was leaving early, because by the time 6:15am came around, there were way more people than usual in our normal spot on St. Charles street. We actually had to leave early but Big Freddy had left before us and secured us a spot. In addition, they closed off many of the parking lots that we normally parked in. We got a nice spot this year, but we also had to walk a few blocks to catch Zulu and then go to the other side of the street to catch Rex.
We bring a canopy for us to sit under, chairs, even a Porti Potti. Most people don't know that public bathrooms are not available during carnival, so unless you want to use one of the city provided Porti Pottis, you'll have to rent or buy your own. We put ours in a tent so it was more private. If you don't rent or buy your own, or use the city provided ones, many people just urinate in public in a secluded spot.
We caught so many beads at Zulu and Rex. Coconuts are the most prized things to get at Zulu. People will nearly fall to the ground trying to get one. I think we collected at least 10. Poor Alice almost thought she lost her glasses because someone nearly tackled her to get one.
Tomorrow starts the beginning of the actual research trip. We will begin at the State Library in Baton Rouge, which is about a 1 hour 30 minute drive from New Orleans. We will be staying at our cousin Gene's house overnight after we complete our trip to the Library and then will go to the State Archives in Baton Rouge on Friday. I know I need quite a bit of rest tonight in order to be able to read through a ton of records tomorrow. The most intensive work is going to be done at the State Library.
As of February 19, 2007, the family file is now to 1,445 people, living and dead.