Noontime Nuggetz: Philly’s Mardi Gras Madness, 10 Years Later

Hey, remember that time a decade ago when Philly heard all about this Mardi Gras thing and then proceeded TO DO IT COMPLETELY WRONG? Tomorrow is the ten-year anniversary of that shameful moment for our city. (And, real talk, South Street is still suffering from it.) Above, thanks to YouTube, a compilation of Action News coverage from ten years ago, along with, for some reason, some Grand Theft Auto footage, too.

  • http://djrobertdrake.com DJRobertDrake

    “and, real talk, South Street is still suffering from it”

    Not really. The problems that South Street currently faces are not at all related to that incident 10 years ago. In fact, Mardi Gras is pretty much a non-event down on the Street these days …

  • schmapty

    Part of the decline of South St came from the bad rep and ensuing crack down after this.

  • greggulator

    I’d imagine that insurance rates went way up after this, which helped push out the quirky shops who were already paying some of the steeper retail rents in the city. And then you have No. Libs getting developed roughly around the same time and you have places that would typically be on South Street in years past head towards that part of town.

    Oddly, Fat Tuesday’s is still open. They had a pretty big part of all of this, from what I remember. They’re obviously going to get a big, awful crowd on a day like that. I remember that they (and a bunch of the other bars down there) promoted the hell of of Fat Tuesday on all of the radio stations. And on top of it, that week had some pretty spectacular weather.

    Philly’s not alone in awful Mardi Gras celebrations. Seattle had one around the same time (maybe even the same year) that was even worse.

  • schmapty

    Great weather, spring break, bars open at 7am, tons of promotion it all added up to a mess.
    Personally, I see the decline of South St as having a lot to do with the decline of the music industry. The South St of my youth, late 90s/early 00s, had Tower, Spaceboy, Repo, CI Records, Noise Pollution, Phila Record Exchange, 611, Book Trader (had a very viable used LP section back then), that place that was trashed in the riot around 7th and South and a few other spots like Rock and Roll plus or those nameless shops around 2nd street that dabbled in used music. What is there now? Repo, Noise Pollution, a Rec Exchange that is a shaddow of itself??
    There are a million other reasons but the end of retail music shops was a big blow.

  • PooSteam

    “when Philly heard all about this Mardi Gras thing and then proceeded TO DO IT COMPLETELY WRONG?”

    You must’ve never seen the real thing. It makes what was done on South Street look very tame in comparison most years.

  • arcticsplasher

    Spent the whole day on South Street that year and went home before the “rioting” started, but anyone could see the crowd was growing steadily more agitated. By far, the biggest problem was that the police insisted on keeping South Street open to traffic and parking, forcing the tens of thousands of pedestrians to remain bottled up on those tiny sidewalks behind barricades. As more and more people packed in, no one could move and the frustration grew and grew, yet the police insisted that no one could leave the sidewalks. The city could’ve embraced it and treated everyone like adults as places like New Orleans do, with street closures, stages with live music, and allowance of outdoor drinking for one day, but instead it chose to treat everyone like naughty children – and that is exactly how they behaved.