Remember the super krewes that I was telling you about? Well the final krewe, the Krewe of Endymion, hosts New Orlean’s largest Mardi Gras parade. The parade is then followed by the largest party in New Orleans, a black tie extravaganza that’s anything but stuffy.
The party is held every year at the Superdome, the massive venue where the Saints play.
There are two main areas of the party. The four of us were in the VIP area, which is in the seating section of the stadium.
Then there are the floor tickets, which are for the tables down on the floor of the stadium.
You need to either be, or in our case know, a krewe member in order to get tickets. You should think carefully about where you want to sit, because there are pros and cons of each section.
The VIP section has an open bar, and a generous food buffet. Because you’re elevated, you have a great view of the parade. The floats also throw beads and gifts to the VIP level, not just to the floor, so you still get the goodies without being caught in the madness. You can’t go out on the floor during the parade, but immediately after you have that option. So you can decide where you would like to watch the subsequent concert (it’s more fun to be on the floor for the concert).
If you’re sitting on the floor, then you need to bring your own food and drinks. You do have the option of purchasing these things at the venue, but they are overpriced and not very good. The floor gets very, very crowded, with everyone trying to get up close to the parade floats. But you are right in the middle of the action, which you don’t quite feel like you are with the VIP tickets. The floor tickets never allow you to go up to the VIP area, even after the parade, so once you’re there that’s where you’re spending your evening. Also, the floor bathrooms are much harder to get to, especially during the parade, with a lot longer lines than in the VIP area.
I was very happy that we had the VIP tickets, because I felt like the floor would be much too claustrophobic during the parade.
After the Endymion parade travels throughout New Orleans, it ends up coming right into the Superdome. I never thought that I’d be at a black tie party where a parade goes straight through it!
Don’t worry if you’re running a little bit late to the Extravaganza. The parade begins at the Superdome at 8pm, and goes until at least midnight. I had been hurrying my friends along because I didn’t want to miss the parade, so you can imaging how happy they were with me when the parade stretched on for hours!
As with the parades I talked about earlier, Endymion has massive, intricately-decorated floats. Their motto is “throw until it hurts,” which means that parade watchers across the city and inside the Superdome are sure to be left holding lots of beads and trinkets.
If you are watching from the floor, it’s a good idea to bring a tarp to cover your table’s food and drinks during the parade. This way you won’t end up with beads in your king’s cake!
As you can see, it’s an absolute mad house down on the floor!
This was a special year for Endymion, because the krewe was celebrating its 50th birthday! During each of those years, the parade had a different theme. In honor of its anniversary, this year’s theme was “Endymion throughout the Years,” and there was one parade float decorated to reflect the theme for each of those 50 years! Which meant that 50 of the floats were nostalgic throwbacks (just in case I made it sound like there was one float with 50 themes)!
When the parade was over, we joined the rest of our friends on the floor for the concert. They appeared to be successful in catching cool beads (and a rubber chicken?!) during the parade!
The most important thing that you need to know about the Endymion Extravaganza is that if you’re going out onto the floor, the floor will be disgusting. Spilled drinks and beads are everywhere, so the bottom of your dress will get very, very dirty. You still need to wear a floor-length dress, since it is a black tie event, but make sure that the length is perfect (just skimming the floor). And choose a dress that’s black, so that stains won’t show. Or even better, choose a dress that you don’t mind ruining, such as an old bridesmaid dress that the bride promised you could wear again!
If you are sitting in the VIP section, and not planning on going out onto the floor, you can wear whatever dress you want, nothing should happen to it (barring your own clumsiness of course!). But you do want the option of going out onto the floor during the concert, because it is a lot of fun, so I would recommend coming prepared anyway.
Another thing that you need to know about Endymion is that it’s an all-night affair. The party goes until 6am, and you’ll be up on your feet for most of it. So don’t be surprised to see ladies wearing their floor-length gowns with sneakers or flip flops. You should absolutely make sure that your feet are comfortable, but class it up a little bit and at least wear flats!
Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, who was also serving as this year’s Endymion king, opened the concert. It was so much fun singing and dancing to his classic songs!
Then Pitbull closed out the show, bringing a ton of energy and making everyone forget that it was past 3am!
After the concert there was more dancing, partying, and of course, drinking. It was definitely the craziest black tie event I’ve ever been to!