Once again, we had rain. In fact for the few remaining days of Carnival we should have some rain every day. Since we are used to it, it’s not too bad. And, fortunately, last night’s storm lasted for all of about 15 minutes. I can’t speak for the spectators, but everybody on the parade route took it in stride and in good humor. I got pretty wet. I was wearing running pants and a t-shirt. No big deal. By the time I was done working I was dry.
As those of you who have been with me for a while know, I love marching bands. When I was young, I didn’t. Something changed with age. I became a bigger fan when I first arrived in New Orleans. But, after the storm — Hurricane Katrina — I realized how much these bands mean to me. They are a big part of the city.
I came back for the first and second Mardi Gras after Katrina destroyed 80% of the city. I was standing on a tiny neutral zone at Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue. I was talking to people around me as you do. I told two Canadian women that if they ever were lucky enough to see St. Augustine Marching 100 it would be something they would never forget.
The buildings on St. Charles Avenue, when it reaches Canal Street, form sort of a man-made canyon. Just as I told the Canadians about The Marching 100, I could hear them thundering through the canyon. There is no mistaking them. I stood there with tears of gratitude streaming down my face. After all that we went through to evacuate from the storm, I never thought that I would see them again.
You see, that’s the thing about Mardi Gras. I was just telling one of you in the replies that Mardi Gras really isn’t about what you see on the street. There’s a quieter, more family oriented, sort of Thanksgiving-like holiday that we celebrate.
It’s also about tradition and memories. Even though I am not from here — as in being born and raised here with deep family connections to the city — Mardi Gras is also about home. And, about coming home. I attend these same parades every year. I wouldn’t ever change that. I grumble about parking and passing another car on our too small two-way streets. I wouldn’t change that. That’s part of my tradition. My ritual. My routine.
The pictures. Oh, you know me. F8 and be there. Nothing more.