Sunday, February 24, 2013

Photo-of-the-Week #95 - Mardi Gras Bead Trading - February 2013, New Orleans, Louisiana

So, this is my salute to Mardi Gras.

This is the way women trade for cheap plastic beads in New Orleans at Mardi Gras. Okay, in reality this was once a festivity on Bourbon Street only during the New Orleans Fat Tuesday celebration after the parades and when the alcohol is flowing. It appears that it has now become quite popular almost any Friday and Saturday night throughout the year when the college kids come to party.

The tradition (though the New Orleans locals and authorities do not consider it a tradition) unofficially began around 1973 when the city stopped allowing parades in the narrow streets of the French Quarter. Bourbon Street needed something to draw back the crowds and, apparently was one of the ways they did it.

There are a lot of theories as to why women are willing to bare their breasts in exchange for the cheap plastic beads. But, without going into all kinds of psychological profiling, I'd say it's just because everyone is from out of town, drinking, having fun and losing their inhibitions. And, I'm sure some of them are just exhibitionists by nature.

Some will consider it debauchery or decaying morals. I guess it just depends on your point of view. As long as everyone is careful (and there are published recommendations on safety on the Internet), I guess it really doesn't hurt anyone. 

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