Monday, February 27, 2006

Mardi Gras 2006

Angus Lind explains Mardi Gras above. I think he may have it, for the first time ever. Of course, I already get it. But for everyone else...

Well, I, like many, had mixed feeling about Mardi Gras in New Olreans this year. On the one hand, there is not a lot of money in the local government to be sponsoring (I know it's funded mostly by local Krewes, but not the cops and cleanup - that comes from tax money, right?), and they risk the ire of the still dislocated. Of course, I sometimes consider myself dislocated and I definitely miss Mardi Gras, but we can't all have what we want all the time. I mean, I am one of those New Orleanians who thinks that Mardi Gras is the best holidays of the year. Better than Halloween, Christmas and New Year's. And it seemed to me that perhaps this year in particular Mardi Gras might be over the top for a region teetering on the verge of extinction.

On the other hand, Tim over at timsnamelessblog says it, "For those not in New Orleans or nearby, my deepest sympathy. For the first time in six months, we in New Orleans can feel sorry for you." Mardi Gras is like our soul. When we celebrate it as only we can, we find some reason to keep plugging away. A sense of relief, renewal, and rebirth arrives with Lent. Something deeply religious happens. As Dillyberto once told me, "Sometimes you have to derail the train." It's impossible to explain, but it is communal. And because we are celebrating in our way on our terms people are looking. And that's good for New Orleans. It's marketing at its finest. I listened with rapt attention on the way to work today as CNN interviewed Jack Stephens in St. Bernard and the mayor of Slidell. And they talked about the Convention Center. You can't buy that kind of itnterest. It happens because we are being who we are. So now the world has to pay attention to us again.

Foolhardy? Maybe. Worth every cent to keep the people happy and get us back in the national spotlight? Fo' sho'.

And on the NBC news it was announced that Brian Williams, one of the national media's biggest supporters of New Orleans, left when he found his sister died of breast cancer today. God Bless us, everyone.

And Happy Mardi Gras! I love it even when I am 1300 miles away. (PS - If you need help or know someone who needs help, let me know. I will be in town next week and have free time and free labor to offer.)

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