Mardi Gras season is upon us. This weekend is the start of the busiest and most exciting week and a half of the year, and believe it or not, real estate plays a major role! All around town, New Orleanians lucky enough to live on or close to the parade route open their homes to their friends and family as hubs for parade-goers. If you're fortunate enough to have friends with a "parade house," you know how key it is to have a place to call home, store your stuff, and use the kitchen and bathroom during the marathon of days spent out parading. Especially for parents of young kids, having a "parade house" to go to is one of the major factors in making it through Carnival with your kiddos (and your sanity) in tow. People who live on the route tend to be pretty relaxed about it. After all, they chose their homes knowing full-well that their place will be ground zero for revelry for two weeks each winter. If you live on the parade route, chances are you're excited to host your friends and family. But there are limits! As a guest of a house party on the parade route, you want to make sure you're following proper etiquette so everyone can have a great time (and so you'll be asked back for years to come!) Let's talk about some basic parade house etiquette tips: 1. Ask Before Your Invite
Your friend invited you to their house for the parades. Awesome! They say they're having people over and you're welcome to bring your family. But before you start inviting your friend, neighbor, sister-in-law and cousin twice removed, take a pause. Sure, your friend is probably used to lots of guests at Mardi Gras time. But make sure to clear it with the homeowner before telling everyone you know to come by. Most parade-house owners will take a "more the merrier" approach. But not everyone! Ask permission before you invite friends who do not know the hosts and be thankful and grateful for their hospitality. 2. Bring Your Own Supplies
People who own homes on the parade route are used to hosting a lot. Especially if the house is on the Uptown route, where there are parades almost every day and night, the house might be a non-stop cycle of guests in and out for days. That can be overwhelming! Don't assume there will be unlimited food and drinks for everyone at the home. Especially as the season wears on, the hosts may barely have time to straighten up, let alone grocery shop and have everything catered. Make sure you ask the host what you can bring, and even if they say nothing (like many hosts will), bring your own drinks and ice chest for the route. Make sure you have snacks your kids will eat and like in your backpack, and don't be afraid to bring things to share. I've never seen a parade host turn down the offer of a thank you king cake or gallon of daquiris to share. Show your thanks for the invite by helping with their stash. 3. Check Before You Move In
Many people will bring their own chairs or ladders for kiddos to the route. And that's great because you don't want to rely on your hosts to set up your spot outside for you. But always ask before you leave things overnight. On the Uptown route, you need to take down your ladder and set up each night, and your host may not have space (or desire) to store all of your MG swag for the entire season. 4. Leave The House Better Than Your Found It Admittedly, Mardi Gras isn't known as the cleanest of holidays. It's common place to see discarded beads and cups, half-eaten Popeyes and empty cans of Abita strewn about the route, and parade kids regularly look forward to the "second parade" at night (a.k.a. the trash trucks coming down the streets to clean after the last float passes). But just because Mardi Gras isn't a holiday known for cleanliness, that doesn't mean you have to contribute my trashing your friends' home! Remember, once the parade ends and everyone leaves, the hosts still live there! Try your best to clean up after yourself and your kids, and if you see things looking scary in the house, don't wait to be asked to help clean up. Spilled soda or cups and napkins can be easily cleared without a personal invitation, and your hosts will absolutely be grateful for the help. 5. Show Your Gratitude
Make sure to thank your hosts after Carnival is over. As fun as hosting parade parties can be, it's exhausting for the homeowners. Make sure you send a text or make a call after the season is over to thank your friends for their hospitality. If they hosted you more than once (or every single day for 10 days straight), it's nice to go the extra mile. Maybe send flowers or a bottle of wine to thank your friends for all they did to make Mardi Gras special. Or if you're really close, even a house cleaning certificate or spa day would be an awesome way to say thank you. Or host your friend to your house to reciprocate once parade season is over. A house on the route makes for some valuable real estate. Make sure you make the perfect parade party guest and you'll be scoring those invites for years to come! Want your own parade house? Call me today to chat about it.