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Mardi Gras Party
Mardi Gras party

New Orleans-based Andi Eaton, who blogs and Instas at Oui We Girl, wears our Draper James Dunaway Vines Scallop Short and Cloister Top for a Mardi Gras party she threw with friends over brunch. (All photos by Keiko Lynn.)

Happy Lundi Gras! As in, the Monday before Fat Tuesday—the closing day of the Mardi Gras season. And who better to show us how to make the most of it than Andi Eaton, whose Mardi Gras party ideas guarantee you’ll close Carnival out on a high note?

We first met Andi when we were searching for experts for our Draper James New Orleans Guide (see the guide here and here). Andi’s enviably hip day job is writing and blogging about her many travels, as well as bringing her self-described “modern bohemian” style to fashion brands as a creative director. While her blog and Insta have her everywhere from Nashville to Cali, Andi makes her home in New Orleans, where her colorful and freewheeling (and totally chic) look fits right in.

Back in town to close out Mardi Gras, she hosted a low-key “Mardi Gras Party Gras” before heading out to the parades.

Mardi Gras party

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, marking the very end of Carnival season! For folks in NOLA who haven’t yet had a chance to celebrate (or even those who have), what’s going on then?

The parades start early. It’s a good idea to get a good night’s sleep (if possible!) on Lundi Gras eve and be out on the parade route for the Zulu parade by 7 a.m. or so. My favorite part of the day is seeing the Mardi Gras Indians in their full regalia. The process of designing the Indian suit is a true indigenous folk art. The motifs often showcase the historical connection between African, Haitian, and Louisiana Creole aesthetics. In the afternoon, the French Quarter is a show in itself. Ceremonial dress, masks, music, and dancing take over the streets in the biggest celebration of the year.

Mardi Gras party

Created by acclaimed pastry chef Lisa White, this king cake is generously filled with salted caramel, fresh bananas, roasted pecans, mascarpone cheese, and caramel latte, and covered in a praline glaze touched with gold. Lisa places a small bean inside (rather than the usual baby), a tradition that dates back to the Roman Empire.

For folks outside of NOLA who want to get a little Mardi Gras on while there’s still a little bit of time, what’s a fun and easy way to whip up a celebration at home?

I’ve been traveling so much this year, so I’m well-versed in having a New Orleans celebration wherever you are. It’s easy! Create a New Orleans inspired playlist—mine has Dr. John, The Meters, and lots of Allen Toussaint songs. Have a king cake shipped in and whip up your best New Orleans cocktail. My must-have king cake is from pastry Chef Lisa White. Lisa’s presently at the Marsh House in Nashville. She created the infamous Salted Caramel & Banana King Cake served at Domenica in New Orleans; it’s completed with a gold leaf decoration that truly makes it fit for royalty! She also created the pastry program at NOLA favorite Willa Jean.

You got back to New Orleans for the final weekend before Mardi Gras. What did you do?

This year I had friends in celebrating their first Mardi Gras. As you can see in these pics, I hosted an early morning brunch at their Airbnb before a day of parading. Don’t worry—I always change into costume before taking off for the parade route! However, my friends were visiting from the cold weather of New York, and we wanted to spend a morning dressed in spring attire before heading out to celebrate! We had chicory coffee from Cafe du Monde, ate Lisa White’s king cake (I brought it in from Nashville), and talked about the Mardi Gras traditions.

We love the way you styled your Draper James!

I’m a vintage lover and this top and shorts together remind me of something a Southern girl would wear to a sixties-style afternoon lawn party. The whole look is so fun and flirty—what girl doesn’t love pink?

What’s your personal favorite MG tradition?

Waking up with the sun, fueling up with a café au lait, hopping on my bike covered in feathers and glitter, and heading out to catch a coconut at the Zulu parade.

And your favorite parades? 

My personal favorite happens at the beginning of carnival season: Krewe Du Vieux. It’s a raucous walking parade through the French Quarter. I always love hosting a gathering pre-parade and then heading out with friends to revel in the spirit of Carnival. I also love the Uptown Muses parade! In Greek mythology the nine Muses were the daughters of Zeus. Muses was the first all-female Krewe, and the parade is a beautiful one, full of glamour, sparkle, and every fashion girl’s favorite thing: shoes! It’s a true standout!

Mardi Gras party

While this Mardi Gras king cake has a bean inside instead of the traditional baby, Andi added a baby on top as a fun touch.

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Welcome to the Draper James blog. My little slice of space to share the things I love most about life: people, parties, food, and fun!  It’s everything Draper James  stands for. and I hope you like it. 

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