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Tattoos and Mardi Gras
Contributed by Gerry Beckerman, aka Inkslinger

Photo Courtesy of Gerry Beckerman

I had never been to Mardi Gras, so the chance to go and be able to work to offset the cost of the trip was too good an offer to pass up. The guest spot was graciously offered by Magicmike of Lucky U Tattoo of New Orleans.

I arrived in town early Thursday morning and thought I would get some sleep before I found the shop, introduced myself and set up. I had driven all night to get there and the sleep would be welcome but it was not to be; they were putting a new roof on the motel and the dumpster that they were putting all the old material in was right outside my room. Every 10 minutes or so a payloader with a beep alarm came around to dump it's load. I gave up on sleep and headed downtown.

I found the shop fairly easy, found a parking spot and went in and introduced myself. Mike and his wife Loretta were there and got me squared away fairly quickly. There was another artist there from Lansing, Michigan - Hawk of Hippyland Tattoo, who was a friend of Mike's and had come to work also.

Thursday was fairly slow but we stayed open until around midnight and then I went out to explore.

New Orleans fills up with people the whole week before Fat Tuesday, which signals the end of Mardi Gras, so there were already parades going on and the streets were packed with people. I walked to the French Quarter and checked out some of the famous New Orleans dishes. This was to be my routine for the next four nights. I ate everything I could think of that had to do with the big easy: Gumbo, Jambalaya, red beans and rice, shrimp, and of course crawfish and Po' Boy sandwiches. Not to mention all the stands along the parade route serving sausage sandwiches, shrimp on a stick, onion blossoms and I could go on and on.

Friday things changed…from the time I got there until 2 A.M. the shop was full of people and myself, Mike, Hawk and Mike's partner Cam were busy. We tattooed people from all over the country, even neighbors of mine from Harrison, Arkansas who called me since then to come in to my shop here in Missouri.

Saturday and Sunday were carbon copies of Friday with the shop being busy. People from all over were having fun and getting a tattoo or piercing to remember their trip. All the tattoos I did weren't on out-of-towners, though. There were locals coming in, also. I have to say that lower back tattoos were the most popular spot for the ladies - I did quite a few and so did the other artists.

Monday it rained pretty heavily which kept the crowd down. Between that and a nasty forecast along my route home I decided to leave Monday night instead of Tuesday night. I was going to miss Fat Tuesday on Bourbon Street but it was stay and maybe get stuck or leave while the getting was good.

My first Mardi Gras will definitely not be my last. Mike and the crew at Lucky U Tattoo invited me back next year and I intend to take them up on the offer. They all made me feel very comfortable and are a great group of people. Thanks to Mike, Loretta, Cam, Renee, Hawk, Tara, Katy, Mark, and the great people of New Orleans for making my first Mardi Gras one I'll always remember.

So, who's this Gerry guy, anyway? Read my exclusive interview with Inkslinger himself!

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