Back in the day, Claiborne Avenue along the Treme neighborhood was a constant hive of activity, until city leaders OK’d a routing of a stretch of I-1o directly over that area, casting a literal shadow over a unique culture and commerce for the African-American community.
Treme in particular and black New Orleans never fully recovered from that decision, but Mardi Gras day represents a kind of reclaiming of that territory, with music, vendors, artisans, families, Zulu members, and Mardi Gras Indians flooding Claiborne Avenue — both under the bridge and off to the side, spilling all the way down Basin Street. It’s as magical a scene as anything in the French Quarter, with DJs and performers blasting music and gumbo boiling in pots and offered at $6 a bowl.
(One vendor offered a free sampling of cracklin’ just to be nice.) Photographers offered to take photos with street-themed backgrounds awash in airbrush spray paint at $5 a snap.
There is an official “Mardi Gras Under the Bridge” event, but really, it’s just one massive street party.
Here are a few snapshots from that scene.