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Mardi Gras

When you’re in a big robe, it’s much easier to pee if you’re not wearing underwear.

King for a Day

Unfortunately I was wearing underwear, and yes, I kept ’em on all day. Must be my Midwestern Lutheran upbringing.

The major parades? Zulu? Rex? Missed ’em entirely. We started in the Bywater eaaarly in the morning, made our way up through the Marigny and into the Quarter, but never even got as far as Jackson Square, much less Canal Street. We were with the Societé de Sainte Anne, at least for a while — at least I think it was Sainte Anne. It was all rather confusing and mysterious.

In some ways it’s a shame I didn’t bring a camera, because you have to see this to believe it. You could check out this great set by jonnodotcom, who managed to snap a few before his camera went south. I didn’t want to spend the day looking through a viewfinder, and there’s no way I could have juggled a camera as well as the essentials. Scepter in one hand, drink in the other. No room for a camera. Besides, even the best pictures don’t really capture the sense of being there.

So: Imagine dancing down a city street with a thousand of your closest friends, all dressed in the most outrageous outfits imaginable, soaking in the subtropical February sun, cooled by a refreshing beverage perhaps, moving to the beat of the hottest brass band you’ve ever heard, the scent of heady herbal incense wafting through the air, until you slip into a trance and lose all sense of time and place.

It’s good. I felt a wild surge of pride and hope. Yes, this city is coming back! Hell yes! Nothing can stop us now!

That remains to be seen, of course.

Of the many audacious and beautiful and sexy and hilarious costumes, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But in front of the Spotted Cat there was a very proper, somewhat British-looking silver-haired gentleman, with a neatly trimmed beard, a nice hat, an impeccably tailored suit — the only odd detail: no pants.

Oh, and we enjoyed the most beautiful weather seen on Mardi Gras for years. I got a hell of a sunburn on the back of my neck, but thankfully the facepaint must have some serious SPF value.

Memo to future self: Under no circumstances should you ever allow Xy to drink on Mardi Gras. Certainly not hard liquor. Certainly not before noon.

As for today, it’s Ash Wednesday, and I’m back at work and school is even back in session, a first for all the years I’ve worked here at the University. I got here early, before 8:00 am, and there were students already hitting the books, waiting for their first class.

I kind of like the shock of being back in the normal world of the office after so much craziness. It’s bracing.

Published inHoly DazeNew Orleans


  1. David David

    I can’t remember celebrating a more meaningful holiday. For that matter, I can barely remember celebrating that holiday. On to lent . . . I need it.

    Thanks for lunch!

  2. The crazy show basically was a send-off party for you to return to normalcy and say goodbye to,well,craziness.what do you say?

  3. What a lovely description, B. I would also like to hear the rest of Xy’s story, but will willingly accept the mystery, if I must. It was very poignant to watch Mardi Gras from afar. *sigh*

  4. Dane, that’s a nice thought, and Carnival is after all a “farewell” of sorts (farewell to the flesh). I only wish we, as a city, were within spitting distance of normalcy. We got a long way to go still, many years in fact.

    Then again, normalcy is overrated.

    As far as Xy is concerned, I’m afraid the story is quite banal: She drank too much, got sick, and had to go home early. Come to think of it, she’s done that just about every Mardi Gras. She’s not really much of a drinker, you know.

    By the bye, I did take some pix before we left the house. You can see them here.

  5. Laureen Laureen

    I can sympathize with Xy. I try not to over drink every MG too. I don’t seem to come in contact with enough food throughout the day and I get pretty excited very early on and sort of forget. This year our regular food stop was not open due to the hurricane so, there you have it, a repeat performance. Thankfully, I too was under some supervision. I hope that saintly individual is still speaking to me. I did have fun. It was a great day. I am in monastic mode now.

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