Cue the brass, cue the floats, cue the throws... Over 700 yelpers got started on Yelp's Staycation at the Halfway to Mardi Gras Ball, New Orleans' first ever yelper party held at Mardi Gras World. After entering through the float den (where much Mardi Gras magic is made and stored all year round), we all picked up complimentary hurricanes to get the party started right... and red.
There was enough food, drink, and revelry to fit a king! The Mardi Gras World Café provided a Taste of New Orleans, with chicken and sausage gumbo, jambalaya, red beans & rice and bread pudding. New Orleans Ice Cream put a rich, sweet touch on the evening... a fat Tuesday, indeed! A party in New Orleans without tons of libations would be akin to sin, and this extravaganza offered up numerous bars and drink sponsors. We enjoyed green tea/blueberry Old New Orleans Rum concoctions and Lion's Pride Organic Whiskey tastings from Koval Distillery. There was also plenty of Fireball Whiskey, Saint Arnold beer, and Deep Eddy Vodka, which mixed nicely with Honest Tea! 711 Bourbon Heat provided us with some sweetly refreshing sangria.
And then there was the pure spectacle of it all. It was a sight to behond! Majestic and colorful floats of all sizes that provided many a unique photo op. A stilt walker courtesy of Carl Mack, roamed about the crowd and managed to stay miles above us all... except for aerialist Rachel McMeachin of Kansas City's Voler, who fascinated us with her moves high up above to the beat of Noisician Coalition. And that's not even mentioning our costumes! In the tradition of Mardi Gras, almost all of us dressed to blow each other away with their outfits ranging from the bizarre to the beautiful. Many of us stepped into the Big Easy Photobooth to show 'em off and take away some souvenir photos of the night.
The rain stopped just in time for us to bring the party outside and dance the night away to the beats of DJ Cameron Kelly under the starry sky and lit up Crescent City Connection bridge. Disco Amigos totally had us doing the hustle, by the way! Everything was illuminated courtesy of RZI Lighting and Royal Productions. And Fancy Faces Decor made our surroundings extra festive and pretty. A face without a mask or makeup is a sad sight, so Princess Camerian put her magic touch on those who needed it.
The evening concluded with a costume contest judged by Fashion Week NOLA provided the savvy judges, who had to make the difficult decision as to who, out of all the gorgeous–and often hilarious– costumed guests would walk away with one of the prizes donated by the Windsor Court Hotel, The New Orleans Hotel Collection and French Quarter Phantoms, which ranged from free hotel stays to spa services to tours! The New Movement provided the sassy commentary come decision time and the winners were happier than the kid with the most throws...
Read some excerpts from our favorite reviews! From Re H: "I loved walking amidst the floats, there is some thing very ominous about their holding place until they reveal themselves at Mardi Gras. I found it magical and creepy, wondrous and spooky, bedazzling and haunting, and enjoyable all at once!"
and Lindsay A: "The sponsors were great, those Disco Amigos were tons of dancing fun, the staff of Mardi Gras World was super cool, and of course the crowd was full of amazing Yelp-tastic people. The six people I brought with me had never been to a Yelp event before and they all left asking how they could become an Elite member! It says something if people in New Orleans talk about your party for the entire week following it."
(read 'em all or write one yourself, if you were there!)
Many thanks to the staff at Mardi Gras World, our sponsors and performers, and of course to you for coming out and showing the Yelpiverse how New Orleans does a ball to end 'em all! Beyond that, we all helped raise over $800 for our beneficiary for the night, The New Orleans Musicians' Clinic.
SYOY (See You On Yelp!)
Yelp NOLA Community Manager