Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mardi Gras prelude

Mardi Gras is officially nearly upon us (February Fifth). This is the earliest date for Mardi Gras since 1983, and it does feel like the city is not quite ready, pardon the expression, for the inundation. Just in case you are not Catholic and were wondering what this whole holiday is about, Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is 47 days before Easter Sunday (41 if you don't count the Sundays... ask a Catholic), and represents the last sinful behavior before the start of the somber Lent season. Colin and I have so far been to one parade that went through the French quarter, the Krewe de Veiux. It was lewd, hilarious, and creative. The costumes were amazing and the floats, (mule powered only!) were really cool. Colin and my favorite float in the Krewe de Veiux parade was the one sponsored by the Krewe de Pan, which featured the following artistry depicting New Orleans reporter LaFcadio Hearn:

The quote reads: "Times are not good here, The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to be here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio." This is from a letter that Hearn wrote to a friend of his in California in 1879. I guess that is the sentiment that many of us here in New Orleans feel, that despite everything, this city remains one of the most unique and genuine places in America. An amazing article about Hearn's life and times can be found here.


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