What kind of people engage in this public display? If you haven't been to Mardi Gras, you'd probably be surprised to find out that it covers the entire spectrum - especially for women: young, old, blue-collar, white-collar, sagging & firm - they're all out there. Being a closet sociologist, it's interesting to note the various "types" of personalities involved in public exhibitionism. Most women are adequately relaxed as a result of New Orleans' allowance of the consumption and carrying of alcohol on the streets. I think most that come to the Quarter have NO intention of exposing themselves - it turns into a peer-pressure thing. They see someone else do it and think, "I have a better body that that.." or one of their friends - usually the least inhibitive in the group does it first, and then it turns into a friendly competition for the crowds' attention.
What I find most hilarious about this, is the awesome predictability of the situation with respect to the women that come down to the quarter -- there's one (or three) on every large balcony (usually college students from Texas or Georgia) - they're the ones that blush at first when a few people single them out and start soliciting their participation. Oh no - they shake their heads - they're not going to show you their tits... No way... At the same time however, they relish the attention they're getting. After about five minutes of hawking, if the guys below don't see any skin they move on - which can be a rude awakening for the young lady who was innocently basking in the spotlight for that fleeting moment. After a few more sessions like this, their constitution is severely waning - it's fun to watch - strictly psychologically speaking of course, to identify that moment when they finally "do it", hesitatingly pull their shirt up for 22.5 nanoseconds, and then the chain reaction starts...
There must be some physical law that Newton or Galileo overlooked relating to "The Exhibitionism Certainty Principal" - once a woman shows her breasts, she'll continue to do it (usually in a more provacative progression) until she's too tired to do it any more. And for their unselfish contribution to Carnival, they're rewarded with pearls, eagerly tossed up to them as a trophy and testimonial to the confrontation of their repressed desires.
Want to see more? So do we! If you have some interesting Mardi Gras pictures, send them to http://www.icorp.net/icorp/feedback.htm and if they're good enough, we'll put them online and give you credit - you could also be eligible for prizes!
One alert shutterbug wandering the festivities managed to snap off these frames. Warning: These photos are not for the faint of heart (nor the pure of mind). If you're wondering whether or not they might offend, they probably will!