Mardi Gras, my favorite holiday! In New Orleans we get the whole week off of work/school for the glorious event. Living outside of the state, you get nothing! However, being such an important part of my cultural heritage (and having missed last years celebrations) I decided to allow myself the time to go home for the occasion.
Despite what many people may think, Mardi Gras is not about beads and boobs. Beads yes, boobs no. To dispel the myth, the only people who flash at Mardi Gras are not from New Orleans. In fact, the people on the floats in the parade are likely related to us or are friends of ours. That would make it quite embarrassing if it actually did occur, not that anyone in their right mind would do so.
With that said...Mardi Gras happens to be my favorite time of year for a number of reasons.
1. There is nothing better than a city wide party (think way bigger than block party) where you can see everyone you know. This provides ample time to catch up on things, life, and everyone related to them. This is part of what makes New Orleans a community. Also during this time, you are introduced to those they are with. Thus, making new friends and expanding your social circle. A very realistic Mardi Gras situation would be meeting someone 6 blocks away and walking to do so. In the process running into 3 different people you know and having 20 minute long conversations with them. At this time you may be offered beer and the use of a toilet (if you are really good friends). On the way back, you run into 3 different people from before and the process continues.
2. Aside from the city wide party. Often times you and your closest friends will set up shop at one part of the parade route. This provides a place for family and friends to come see you and a general meeting up point. This spot is all about location. It must be convenient to bathroom and beer as well as in a safe area and within walking distance of other friends. Ladders are often times part of this set up, food, coolers etc. Which leads me to another part of Mardi Gras....
3. The Barter System. Everyone works on the barter system during this fabulous holiday...with the exception of bartenders and cab drivers. The group behind you has a table of crawfish, you have a box of fried chicken...you trade each other for it. You have a spot close to the parade with ladder, they have beer...you trade. The guy on the float has some AWESOME beads that you in your drunken state cannot live without...you have a beer...you trade. Life was much simpler with the barter system.
4. Drunken revelry. It is my belief that in order to keep ones sanity, one must cut loose. This happens usually more than once a year in New Orleans, but this longer than a week celebration is what keeps us sane..."its through losing our minds that we find our hearts"-fred leblanc
The list continues and I'm getting tired, but bottom line...I MISS NEW ORLEANS!