NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After Uptown parades were pushed up an hour early to beat the rain Saturday afternoon (Feb. 13), sunny skies greeted the first to roll with only light showers coming down during Pontchartrain, Choctaw and Freret.
Many people came out hours before the 12 p.m. roll time, to set up their tents and ladders along St. Charles Avenue.
“My brother-in-law and I came out this morning around 7 a.m., 6:30 to 7 a.m. just to get set up, and I feel like we got pretty lucky with this spot,” Chad McCraine said.
They set up two tents on the St. Charles neutral ground to accommodate their 16 friends and family visiting from Texas. Some in the crowd were experience the revelry for the first time.
“I’m super excited. This is my first one here, and so, I’m with my aunt, and she’s probably been here about five years, and this is the first time I’m able to come,” Sarah Riley said.
"It's their first time in New Orleans," Kari McCraine said.
"We have a lot of newbies running around here," Chad McCraine said.
There’s a special reason they set up on the neutral ground every year.
“Her father was a big part of it. He enjoyed it. He came every year from Texas," Chad McCraine said. “It was one of the few things that we did every single year. He unfortunately passed a couple years ago. We’re trying to maintain the tradition with the rest of our family.”
Some came prepared with backpacks to fill with all their goodies.
“Mostly like, two stuffed animals and a ton of beads,” Beaux Galloway, showing off his throws.
It may not just be luck, Beaux and his twin brother Dax said they strategize.
“My mom told me, when you’re in front, just go to the back,” Galloway said. “If they haven’t seen you before, they’ll think you’re new.”
One family traveled all the way from Washington, D.C., but Mowelle Causey said it wasn’t her first time here.
“It’s my second actually," Causey said. "I met my husband at my first Mardi Gras. We didn’t meet here, but he brought me here, so I knew he was the one.”
This time around, she’s sharing the moment with her son.
“It’s actually his first parade, and it has been wonderful," Causey said. "I think he’s a little bit overwhelmed, but I always love Mardi Gras, so, I’m glad I’ve been able to make it back after all these years. We just love being here. We love the vibe, we love everything about it.”