"It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi-Gras in New Orleans."
Today marks Fat Tuesday. The end of Carnival, of Mardi Gras. The end of Shrovetide. A day of the feast, for tomorrow brings the fast. The last day before Lent.
Today is a day of celebration. Of joy. It's time for good music and great food. To embody that special joie de vivre.
So grab another slice of king cake or fry up some beignets. Put on a little Preservation Hall Jazz Band or Marsalis Family. Add a little rum to the punch.
Celebrate this wonderful world we live in and make an effort to enjoy as much of it as possible.
I realize for many, that looks very different this year and celebration may seem very difficult. Covid for one has changed everything. The parades have changed to 'home floats' where New Orleans residents have decorated their yards. Recommendations against partying, a different kind of mask requirement - all things that make even a warm Fat Tuesday very different.
This year, we also have a once in a lifetime blizzard across the south that is hampering the celebratory spirit. Thousands without power, sheltering in the cold, and facing the potential of more to come and a long haul ahead. Enough to dampen even the best revelers.
Do what you can to enjoy the day today. Bring a little spice, a little music, and a whole lotta love to the day.
“To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out, and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.
Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.
Mardi Gras is bars and restaurants changing out all the CD's in their jukeboxes to Professor Longhair and the Neville Brothers, and it is annual front-porch crawfish boils hours before the parades so your stomach and attitude reach a state of grace, and it is returning to the same street corner, year after year, and standing next to the same people, year after year--people whose names you may or may not even know but you've watched their kids grow up in this public tableau and when they're not there, you wonder: Where are those guys this year?
It is dressing your dog in a stupid costume and cheering when the marching bands go crazy and clapping and saluting the military bands when they crisply snap to.
Now that part, more than ever.
It's mad piano professors converging on our city from all over the world and banging the 88's until dawn and laughing at the hairy-shouldered men in dresses too tight and stalking the Indians under Claiborne overpass and thrilling the years you find them and lamenting the years you don't and promising yourself you will next year.
It's wearing frightful color combination in public and rolling your eyes at the guy in your office who--like clockwork, year after year--denies that he got the baby in the king cake and now someone else has to pony up the ten bucks for the next one.
Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once.”
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