As evidenced by my avatar depicting members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club
, today is
in New Orleans. Here in Albuquerque and probably where you live, too, today is, well,
Tuesday. This is a very special Mardi Gras because it is the first one since Hurricane Katrina and the devastation wrought thereby. Usually, Mardi
Gras passes without much notice in the news, but this year there is much in the way of analysis of what it all means and whether or not a celebration
of this sort is appropriate given the magnitude of human suffering from which New Orleans is still reeling.
For myself, I think that it is the only way for a city such as New Orleans to cope, at all. Carnival means so much to the city in terms of its
economy, but also because it is such a special time for New Orleanians to share what is so special about its culture with the world.
Most of the news that comes from New Orleans about Mardi Gras comes from the
, which, while the site of much revelry, does not typify the
the real nature of the event.
On Mardi Gras, the entire city is a party zone. There is not one block of the city on which there are not people singing, dancing and playing the
music that very much defines the event. One of my most memorable Mardi Gras was when I took off walking from downtown to my home several miles away.
It was as surreal an experience as you might ever have. People dressed as all manner of things and persons, watching parades, sitting on their
porches having a beer or three, music blasting and a general air of good will among all.
This year will be different because many of those neighborhoods, for all intents and purposes no longer exist, but what does still exist is the spirit
of Mardi Gras. Perhaps a little weary and heavy of heart, but the will to conquer the emotional components of the tragedy is there and alive.
So, do me a favor today, while you go through your Tuesday working, going to school, or whatever, and think of New Orleans, the "City that Care
Forgot," and wish them well. In a way, Katrina brought home a lot of that care that had for so many years forgotten "The Big Easy." Mardi Gras
proves that New Orleanians can rise above whatever fate may throw her way and revel in the spirit that makes Carnival such a way of life among her
Mardi Gras Google News Search
Mardi Gras Google Search
[edit on 2006/2/28 by GradyPhilpott]