“We Have Survived Carnival Season!”, chants the citizenship of New Orleans, as they hug the nearest stranger, drink their last beer, gather-up the beads, roll their ladders home, and take stock of this wonderful crazy irreverent city and all of it’s glorious excess.
This may seem full of hyperbole, an exaggeration, overly dramatic even, but I would beg to differ.
I have never lived among a more loving lot of vagabonds, a more inclusive society where you are just as likely to break bread with a down-on-her-luck transvestite stripper as you are with the Mayor, and all in an atmosphere of laissez le bon temps roulez.
To put the ‘survival’ aspect into play, let’s put a little perspective on it:
Fifty-four parades roll between Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday, over two weeks, culminating with the Krewe of Rex parading on Mardi Gras day.
These parades roll in eight different communities throughout the greater New Orleans metropolitan area.
Thirteen roll by my house.
(I’ll give you a minute to digest that).
The parades most people envision when they think of Mardi Gras are the parades that roll Uptown down St. Charles Blvd. turning onto Canal Street in downtown.
The parades I mostly envision include my daily position on a raised erection (It’s wood people- jeez. Made with screws and nailed- this doesn’t sound any better does it?) with a Rum Ramsey in my hand screaming Throw Me Some Beads Mister!
No parades with floats roll in the French Quarter- just drunk tourists- and breasts let loose from proper foundation garments.
During this two week period there are just as many Masked Balls, all crafted around much pomp, tradition, and adult cocktails, which are held at various city locations- including the city jail if you misbehave.
I never do.
Though, you may purchase tickets to some of these Balls, most are private members-only events.
You may become a member if you are invited to join.
I am invited everywhere.
It doesn’t hurt to know how to waltz, love a party, and be able to keep a secret.
As part of the Carnival Season’s revelry you will be encouraged to eat, drink, dance, be loud, kiss strangers, dance with whomever grabs your waist, sing, costume, stay up late, sleep in long, count your blessings, and live like today is the best day of your life, which, of course…
I always do.