Being a New Orleanian, it was a right of passage to go to your first parade. For many, you were barely out of your mother’s womb. Your mom or dad holding you in one arm and using the other to catch/deflect beads. If this sounds crazy to you, chances are, you haven’t been to Mardi Gras!
The parades may start in January/February, but the preparation is year-round. The minute that last float rolls by, the magic for the next year begins. You see, Mardi Gras isn’t just about bead and trinkets,. No, dahlin, it’s much more than that.
It’s a time of year that everyone, no matter race, background, or hometown, come together to enjoy life. Celebrating “just because” it feels good to be alive!
What is Mardi Gras all about?
- Getting all dolled-up for the parade, balls, and extravaganzas.
- Making sure you have matching family Mardi Gras shirts, tutus, and headbands.
- Painting your face and wearing a “tacky” wig.
- Knowing what side of the street you are “setting up shop.” Neutral ground or sidewalk side?
- Getting there early enough to pass by Popeyes and the Daiquiri shop before all the main streets are closed down.
- Coming prepared with an ice-chest full of food, beer, and maybe even some jello-shots.
- Remembering to bring enough bags to carry all the throws you’ll catch.
- Wheeling your ladder-seat for blocks, so that your kids have the best view in town.
- Seeing the twinkle in your kids’ eyes when you perch them on top of the ladder for the first time, or when you put them on your shoulders to be within arms reach of a float.
- Hearing them squeal when they are handed their very own spear (no worries here, its just a toy, but sort of a right of passage).
- Eating king cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Being ecstatic when you catch a glittery shoe or purse, but not so much when you get the baby in the king cake (next round’s on you).
- Dancing in the street with complete strangers.
- Staying up way past bedtime.
- Not caring that all of the preparation leading up to this wonderful, crazy day took hours, and Wednesday is going to come way too early…
Once you get there the spirit is contagious. The music fills your soul. Everyone’s smiles are contagious. Your neighbor on the neutral-ground side (yeah you right) becomes your best friend for the next few hours. Your hands are in the air and your feet won’t stop moving to the beat.
Life is short, live every day like it’s Mardi Gras!!
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!!
Let The Good Times Roll!