Mardi Gras in the United States conjures up wild images of thousands of festive folks in New Orleans. But there’s another Mardi Gras on bayous and the Gulf. This one is in Galveston, Texas. Galveston’s Mardi Gras began in the 1860s, but wartime put it on hiatus until 1985. That’s when George Mitchell, who’s credited with much of the development on the island, pushed to reinstate the Good Times.
Today, an estimated 250,000 crowd the streets in purple and green to laissez les bons temps rouler. On some days, there are up to four parades within 24 hours. On different days, the routes enliven different neighborhoods.
Robert The Mouth is a 75-year old comedian who has been decorating his house on the Rosenberg parade route for 30 years. It’s dubbed The Mardi Gras House, as colors and beads are displayed 365 days a year.
He chose to paint his house violet, and go all out with the Mardi Gras pinnings because “It’s bright. It’s happy. It’s positive.” He even dresses up a mannequin, changing its clothes periodically, that sits on the balcony overlooking Rosenberg (25th Street) where the parades zip by. His dogs, Woofie and Cindy, roam freely next to the mannequin to greet the onlookers.
Pretty much anywhere you go, you’ll be able to catch the colorful spirit. Many islanders take pride in decorating their homes and throwing or attending krewe parties. The Villa Bed & Breakfast is a 100-year-old Victorian-style pink building four blocks from the beach on 25th Street. Guests can view the parades from a balcony that faces the parade route. The B&B is decorated inside and out, as is its owner, Linda, and her dog.
Mardi Gras runs for two weekends leading up to Fat Tuesday. Visit Galveston.com for more information.