Happy Mardi Gras everyone!
Actually, Mardi Gras is this Tuesday — Fat Tuesday — but the Carnival season began on Twelfth Night and in New Orleans parades have been rolling and people have been partying since then.
This is the time of year when people in Louisiana and other parts of the world parade through the streets in outrageous costumes, dance ecstatically to jazz and R&B, fight for the beads and doubloons thrown from floats, and wallow in the most delicious food.
A favorite phrase during Mardi Gras is Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler, which means, Let the good times roll. And do they ever!
Mardi Gras is an unbelievable experience, like going to the biggest and wildest party on the planet. Most of the parades have themes, sometimes paying tribute to a historical or an important person. But my favorites are those that use satire to poke fun at the pompous and powerful.
In the French Quarter you can see the most beautiful, bizarre, and brazen costumes. Many are X-rated, which is perfectly acceptable in the Quarter on Mardi Gras day.
People do let the good times roll during Carnival, and sometimes it’s juvenile and unacceptable. What’s inspiring, then? At the heart of Mardi Gras is a pervading, energizing joy that celebrates life with all of its joys and sorrows and laughs at those who take themselves too seriously. Laughter cleanses us and readies our lives for the more serious business ahead. On the Christian calendar that means Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday.
It’s been many years since we lived in New Orleans, but we’ll be having jambalaya and king cake at our home Tuesday night, and Mardi Gras jazz will blare — we may even kick up our heels a little. We know difficult times might be ahead, but Mardi Gras day might just help us find the strength to face them.