As I look out my window, I am reminded why I hate January so much. I know, it’s a new beginning, a fresh start to the year, full of possibilities and all that garbage.
But it’s depressing.
Everything outside my window is gray or brown. Okay, a little bit of yellowy beige. But nothing remotely pretty. No green shrubs. No pretty flowers. No pristine lawn. Just death.
And there’s nothing much to enjoy in January. If you’re in the Northern part of the country – just snow and snow shovel. If you’re in the South, well, what I just described. Too cool for getting outside to enjoy the grayness, too windy to enjoy the frizz-free hair the one benefit winter gives – no humidity.
Glad you read the blog today, aren’t you? I just made your day so cheerful 🙂
But February is coming…In Louisiana that means Mardi Gras. I seriousy feel bad for the rest of the country. They’re still shoveling that blasted snow and we’re pigging out on king cake and fighting the person next to us for a pair of cheap beads. Nothing better than a Mardi Gras parade.
For those of you who haven’t experienced it, there’s really no way to describe it. Now, living in North Louisiana, I hadn’t really experienced it until I moved to New Orleans. But now, you can find parades all over the state, including my hometown of Shreveport where it has grown by leaps and bounds.
Mardi Gras means “party time” in Louisiana. It’s got it’s own music, food, traditions. I can still remember how flabbergasted I was at my first Mardi Gras parade. It was Metairie’s Caesar parade. Float after float rolled by with beads flying left and right. Sometimes lacy thongs floated in the air with the occasional stuffed animal. The biggest beads are the prize. Sometimes the krewe might demand a kiss (usually on the cheek, but I wouldn’t trust those drunk guys) and sometimes they want to see a little more. But only tourists do that.
The costumes and floats are masterpieces. In that particular parade, the headresses are lit in neon. They flash and pulse the excitement of the crowds. Local high school bands and dancelines fill in between the floats and perform periodically. As a high school cheerleader sponsor, I’ve walked my fair share of parades, usually three during the season. The routes are usually slightly over five miles.
Lining the streets are ladders for as far as the eye can see. You’re wondering why, aren’t you? For the kids, of course. You take a wooden ladder and nail an old fashioned carpenter’s box to the top allowing the handle to become the rail that keeps the child inside the seat (the bottom of the box). Voila! You climb onto the back, put the child into the seat, and there’s no chance of the kid being trampled. He or she WILL get nailed in the head by beads, dubloons, and cups, but they won’t end up wandering out onto the parade route.
On any given Saturday during the season (which runs until Ash Wednesday) there are five parades going on in the New Orleans area. Lots of throws, lots of people, lots of liquor stores making lots of money. But its a way of life for Louisianians.
So, obviously I love Mardi Gras. And any of you are welcome to come to Shreveport and catch a parade with me. Trust me. It’s fun. Any of you ever been to Mardi Gras?
Filed under: Liz Talley |