Last Tuesday, everywhere else it was just a Tuesday. But here, in the Big Easy, it was the fattest of Tuesdays…Mardi Gras—that special time of year when my body seems to acquire more liquor, beads, and bruises than any other. In truth, I still adore Mardi Gras, though I’ve been told that I will eventually tire of it. I find that hard to believe, but you never know.
I’ve previously blogged in detail about my first Mardi Gras, so I’ll just sum up the highlights this time.
Carnival season begins officially on January 6, but the real parade season starts a few weeks before Mardi Gras, kicked off by Krewe du Vieux, the witty, irreverent, and often dirty parade that rolls through the Marigny and the French Quarter. KdV rolled on February 19 this year, rather later than usual because of the late Mardi Gras. I’m always thrilled to have the wonderful friends I have here in New Orleans, and I’m even more thrilled when it just so happens that they live along the parade route, as my friend Pat does along the KdV route. Pat has an adorable apartment and makes awesome food (I found out what heaven tastes like…candied bacon) and graciously opens her home to friends and extended friends for a great time. And the parade passes right in front of her apartment. What could be better?
(As an interesting aside, someone asked me how they determine when Mardi Gras falls each year. I knew it was tied to Easter and Ash Wednesday, but I’ve never really looked into why the date of Easter changes yearly until a friend asked me to put my Google Ninja skills to work and find out. To sum up, what I found is that Easter is based on lunar cycles and falls on the first Sunday AFTER the first full moon AFTER the first day of spring. Got that? Yeah, it took me a while too.)
Following KdV, I had almost a week’s rest to get ready to jump right into the Uptown parade season, which started on Friday, February 25 with the Krewe of Oshun. Saturday followed with the krewes of Pontchartrain, Sparta, and Pygmalion, and Sunday featured Carrollton and King Arthur.
By Monday I was ready for a break and trying to make a deadline for an important client. Something had to be sacrificed, and this year it was the Krewe of Druids on Wednesday, which happened to roll on my deadline night. Sorry, Druids. I’ll get you next year.
Deadline met, by Thursday I was exhausted and excited for the krewes of Babylon, Chaos, and (most importantly) one of my all-time favorites, Muses. My dear friend Celeste rides in Muses, and for the past three years has taken care to throw Anne-Marie and me some stellar schwag. This year, I was really hoping for a decorated Muses shoe, the throw for which they are most famous. (I note in an early blog how I was almost sacrificed to the coconut gods for a Zulu coconut during my first Mardi Gras…this seems to be a theme for me.)
As Celeste’s float approached, we crossed the street and waited for her with our sign (made by Anne-Marie) and a bead bag to catch anything she might toss. The crowd surged. The shoe came down, and apparently it wasn’t the only thing that went down, as the last thing Celeste saw from the float’s upper level was a policeman pulling me out from under the float by my pants. Thanks to Smirnoff vodka, I have no recollection of this brush with death. I know only that in the end I wound up with a huge bruise on my knee…and a shoe. Celeste immediately sent me a text to see if I was all right, thinking that she had killed me. I may have been too inebriated to respond.
I offered to share joint custody with Anne-Marie, but she declined, saying that it obviously meant more to me than to her.
Later that evening, on the walk home to my house, I took another tumble, again right in front of a police officer. This one I remember, and I recall him picking me up off the sidewalk and me saying: “It’s all right. I do this all the time. I’m Polish.”
I was bruised and battered and drunk, but the proud owner of a glittery Muses shoe. Totally worth it.
More to come. Stay tuned.