Happy Mardi Gras today! This is definitely one of the days of the year that 'I Know What It Means To Miss New Orleeens' as the song goes...! As I've said before it was always a huge day of fun and festivities in our family. My parents taught us to fais do do with the best of our city's residents. The month (now months)... preceding Mardi Gras is the season of Carnival Organization balls. For me, it was quite exciting to be a participant of the ball and if not a participant then to attend and wait for my 'call out' when my name was called and I was escorted to the dance floor to dance with a member of the Carnival Krewe. This was most often my Father...! I loved getting to help choose the color and design of my carnival ball gowns the years I was a participant...always feeling so elegant and royal! The years me or one of my sisters were a part of the 'Court', we would attend the 'Supper Dance' after the ball and not get home until the wee hours of the next day! Of course the grand finale of Mardi Gras is the meeting of the Rex and Comus courts late Mardi Gras night.
Teaching our children to holler out to passing floats, "Hey Mistah, throw me sumthun" at the top of their lungs, is quite the norm in that rowdy town I called home. For (yesss, I got the calculator out), thirty five years I lived in a city that in the weeks preceding Mardi Gras we had spanish moss and sparkling beads hanging from oak trees!
In the picture above I remember I was pregnant with Tim, our second son, feeling him kick in time with the bass drums when each marching band passed by! For the night parades my Grandmother would babysit first Stevie then both Tim and Stevie so we could see the my favorite part of the night parades...the flambeau carriers! I thought they had to be the most talented people to be able to dance and jive to the marching bands tempo and dive for the change thrown to them all the while keeping those torches aloft!
Where else but in New Orleans would you take your children to a parade and not be insulted or offended but actually consider it normal when a sixty or seventy year old adult would grab carnival trinkets, beads or doubloons from a child? Where else is it normal to see little ones chewing rubber cigars with beads draped by the dozens around their neck? At an early age little children attending parades learn to put their foot down on the prize before reaching to retrieve. If not, little fingers were at high risk of getting stomped on by seasoned parade goers. It may sound cruel to someone not a native New Orleanian, but if you grew up going to Mardi Gras it was just the way of life.
Tonight we'll have a nice sloppy roast beef po-boy, complete with gravy, shredded lettuce, and horseradish/mayo...perhaps some black olives for extra tang! We did the red beans over the weekend for Scott's birthday. Only so many nights any 'body' can consume red beans in a week. Yes we will be eating po-b0ys and King Cake and singing, 'If Ever I Cease To Love' and remembering all those wonderful Fat Tuesdays of yesteryear.
Gotta Love It!
Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler...!