Is it possible for one day of festivity to change everything?
I woke up Mardi Gras morning wondering if I had a friend left in the world.
Turns out I’ve got hundreds.
If not thousands.
We saw many old friends. We met many new friends. Some were almost a little too friendly, like the guy who grabbed my ass or the dude who kept hitting on Xy. But it was all good. It was all about the love this year.
In the battle of the Sainte Anne factions it would seem that the Bywater faction is ascendant. They had the band. They rule.
The costumes were amazing as always, maybe a little less jaw-dropping than last year. Fewer blue people, for whatever reason. I think my favorite was the tourist who got kicked out of his hotel room mid-shave and was forced to wander the streets wrapped in nothing but a towel.
As for me, I went for extreme silliness as the Love Raccoon. This costume was based on a velvet painting I found on a trash heap around the corner from our house. That and some face paint and a red fur collar from MF in China and I was set.
I’m happy to report that the costume provoked a lot of smiles and laughter. The woman behind the counter at Envie said it was the best thing she’d seen all day, which is pretty amazing when you consider the competition.
And Xy, the Purple Lady? She did well. She held her liquor, didn’t get lost once, caught her second wind at lunch, and had strength for the bike ride back home. I’m proud of her.
I thought last Mardi Gras, six months after Katrina, was the ultimate celebratory event, the most meaningful ever. I was sure this year would not be able to compare. I was prepared to have some fun, but I didn’t expect to be moved, deeply.
Was I ever wrong.
We followed Sainte Anne further than ever this year. I’d heard that they eventually made it to the river to commemorate those who have passed away during the preceding year. But I’d never actually made it that far.
Somehow, this year, we did.
The whole thing was profoundly uplifting and decidedly surrealistic.
And now, the euphoria wears off, and the blood of our people is still running in the streets, but hopefully we all have the collective strength to get through another year and rebuild the city.
PS: I took a camera along for the first time in years, so you can see a set of thirty more selected pix if you’re so inclined.