New York may host the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but New Orleans has something better: the Bayou Classic.
This New Orleans Thanksgiving parade features lively bands, dancers and a seemingly unlimited supply of plastic beads. We enjoyed watching this year’s procession on a bright and sunny day in the French Quarter, with temperatures hitting the high 70s. It was a stark contrast to the televised Macy’s parade in Manhattan, with its winter coat-clad spectators.
If you are in New Orleans for the Thanksgiving holiday next year, don’t miss this lively and free event!
>> Scroll down for photos of the 2012 Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade.
We haven’t experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but the Bayou Classic seems like a G-rated (but equally upbeat) version of the hedonistic festival.
Middle school, high school and college marching bands strutted down Decatur Street in a twirl of pom poms and batons.
Spectators waved and cheered at floats, hoping to be thrown beaded necklaces. We had about 15 beads each by the end of the parade; even the dogs were wearing them.
It’s hard to top the fashion sense of New York City pooches, but this local dog came close!
The parade attracted a diverse group of performers, including this dancer on stilts.
The quest for beads drove young spectators into a frenzy. An elementary school boy standing next to us lunged every time beads were thrown, even pushing aside another child to score more of the plastic jewelry. I fell prey to bead hysteria too; after missing my first throw, I looked so sad that another spectator gave me a string of his beads!
The bead race pitted sister against brother, as some families saw an unequal distribution of the jewels.
The marching bands and dancers wore impressive costumes, ranging from traditional band gear to golden helmets and caps with faux mowhawks.
What’s your favorite New Orleans attraction?
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Sounds like a festive alternative to Mardi Gras. I think New Orleans is the most interesting city we have in America.
New Orleans is definitely an interesting town– from the Vegas-style antics on Bourbon Street to the unique Cajun and Creole cuisine. Can’t wait to go back!
I love the dog with the beads!
The dog with the mardi gras beads was so cute– I ran across the street to snap a pic!
Ha! It’s funny how much beads can turn normal people in crazy, obsessed people. At least the way to get beads for Thanksgiving was a bit more tame than Mardi Gras 🙂
So true! I went crazy trying to get beads and then just threw them away at the end of the parade. They should have bead recycling on every street corner 🙂
What a blast you two had on your trip. New Orleans has such a unique culture, it’s really interesting. BTW noticed you are wearing your hair wavy…I usually don’t see you that way. Cute!
Aw, thanks for the nice comment about my hair! I did go au natural in Louisiana. The humidity was good for curly hair 🙂
Ah, this looks like so much fun. I’ve never been to New Orleans but it’s definitely on my bucket list. And I love the pic of the dog 🙂
Hope you make it to New Orleans– it’s such a fun town! You’d enjoy sipping a Hurricane cocktail on Bourbon Street 🙂
Great that you got to check out New Orleans. I have not been post Katrina, but I hope to get back soon. Such a fun town. I went for the Sugar Bowl one year when my college football team was playing in it. It was absolutely nuts.
I bet the Sugar Bowl was insane! The locals seem super into football… everyone was wearing Saints jerseys when we visited.