Hello From Mardi Gras In New Orleans!

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Natalie blogs direct from New Orleans about Mardi Gras celebrations and the wide variety of ways the city celebrates this traditional festival and feast.

Blogger Natalie Ingraham standing with two men in penis costumes

Photo: Natalie Ingraham

Oh, the joys of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

I am down in New Orleans (NOLA for short) celebrating the end of the carnival season, or Mardi Gras, with my extended family. We’ve gone to quite a few parades, done our fair share of indulging in adult beverages (for those of us over 21; we keep it legal, kids), and filled trunks of our road-tired cars with beads and throws.

Large Parties and Risky Behavior

In her post yesterday, Debby brought up the connection between large parties (essentially what Mardi Gras is all about – excess before Lent) and sexual risk taking behavior, specifically “hooking up” with new partners or at least the expectations of this occuring.

I have to say that my experience with Mardi Gras this year has been much less about boobs and flashing and much more about families and fun with float throws (like beads, frisbees, stuffed animals) going to babies and those willing to chase after floats rather than the usual image of drunken co-eds on the shoulders of drunken boys, much to my surprise. Maybe that’s because we’re not down in the French Quarter, known for slightly harder partying than this end of town.

I’ve also witnessed some great marching bands from around the NOLA area who rock their flamboyant costumes and puncture their bass drum jams with fun dances and smiles. Another highlight for me has been watching the drill and dance teams from across the area dance and shake and down right flaunt their attitude and skill, no matter what their size and shape.

I love seeing high school girls who seem very positive about their bodies and really inhabiting the space around them, filling it with pride and enjoyment. It’s really quite enjoyable and is almost as much fun as yelling “hey, mister” after all the masked men in floats.

Mardi Gras and Sex

So, what does Mardi Gras have to do with sex? Not much for me, I’m afraid. This sexuality education intern has let you down, folks. Tune in later in the week when I get back to the office and start researching things like new, fun sex toys and the joys of lube. I did take one special sex-related picture for the blog, just to show it’s not all innocent family fun.

Look for some Mardi Gras wrap-up photos as well, with one special picture I took just for the Kinsey Confidential blog (see above)! Happy Mardi Gras!

Natalie Ingraham (M.P.H.)

is a recent graduate of Indiana University and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology at University of California San Francisco.
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