Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Memories of Mardi Gras 2007
While pursuing my master's degree from LSU, I had the pleasure of traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Mind you this was post-Katrina, so I knew the celebrations wouldn't be as intense. So, after going to one of my client's recitals, I collected my adopted brother and headed down Interstate 10 West. The closer we got to Nawlins, the more cars appeared. License plates from all over the country. Once I set eyes on the Superdome, I couldn't wait to get out of the car and hit the streets. Arriving at our hotel, we waited for Ryan's family to arrive before heading out to catch the Endymion parade.
I am a total bead whore. Although my hands were freezing, I caught beads like a wide receiver tries to catch a football. I was jumping and bumping into people, and I didn't care. Very often, multiple people would catch the same string of beads. Basically, the person who had the tighest grip won out. Also, if the beads were not ornate, people would let them fall to the ground. Those floats were decorated nicely. The people on the floats -masked and dressed in elaborate costumes- often threw beads directly at the revelers who lined the route. I saw plenty of folks get clocked in the head and face. I later found out that most of them were drunk. By the time the fire truck arrived, signaling the end of the parade, the curb was littered with residual beads. Now, there's a rule that says you should not pick up beads from the ground (for obvious reasons). However, if you stick to the ones on the top of the pile, you're safe.
A former teetotaler, I occasionally indulge in spirits. Determined not to get drunk, my adopted mother (Ms. Neda) decided I should drink as many hand grenades as I could stomach. After drinking two, the world got bright. When we sat down to eat, I immediately began making drunk phone calls. I called all over the country: New York, California, Texas, etc. I took pictures with a Louisiana state trooper and kissed a woman who worked at the restaurant where we dined. My mother, God bless her anxious soul, wanted to drive to Nawlins and rescue me.
The things I saw. Titties for days. Some were nice and erect, while others were saggy and deflated (on young girls!). While women are free to flash until their breasts fall off, any man who flashes wang (my friends term for penis) will be promptly arrested. Ass cheeks are ok, though. While waiting to get some nachos, I saw this drunk, white man get knocked unconscious. I didn't ask any questions. Simply grabbed my "sister" and hauled ass. Of course, people of the proselytizing nature did their best to dissuade us from having any fun at all (see above). The drag queens were out in full force, and some of the costumes and masks were to die for.
My adopted family took good care of me. I didn't have to pay for anything. It was one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had. I haven't gotten back down there since 2007. Nawlins is such a magical city. My spirit truly comes alive once I set foot on that beloved cajun/creole soil. I miss it so much. I'm sure I'll get back there. Actually, once I'm an established author/songwriter/television show host, I plan to be the damn grand marshall. Until then, I have wonderful memories (and pictures) to tide me over.