NEW ORLEANS — Some do it for their family, some do it for the throws, but for others – holding a spot on the parade route is a grind.
And nobody does it better than Freebird Dittmar.
“Gonna have to start petitioning to have Mardi Gras three times a year and I can stop going to work on these houses!” Dittmar, who works as a carpenter outside of Carnival Season, said.
It’s his second year holding down a spot on the parade route and his services don’t come cheap. This year, he’s got three “big groups” paying him $2,500 each to hold their St. Charles Avenue spots and one group paying another $800 for a spot on the Endymion route.
Just a block away, Vera Hendriks and Alex Foley are holding a spot for their boss, who’s paying them with tickets to MOM’s Ball.
And while they were eating lunch, they got an offer to expand their turf for another $100 each.
“Once you’re out here you’ll meet people who offer you money to just sit here,” Foley said. “I haven’t had an experience like this.”
But it’s not just the hustlers making money on the route. Working from home has revolutionized how people stake out parade spots for people like Michael Scruggs, who was technically on the clock Friday morning.
“Unfortunately not all my clients are on Louisiana time, so they don’t realize it’s Mardi Gras time,” Scruggs said as he answered emails from a folding chair on the neutral ground.”
And if you’re thinking about getting in on the game, Freebird has some advice for you.
“Stay out of it! It’s mine,” he said with a laugh. “Or do it somewhere else. Uptown is my route!”