Friday, February 12, 2016

The Carnival Is Over. Mardi Gras 2016

Melinda Palacio

Masking for Carnival in New Orleans

This carnival season was particularly brutal. Cue the violin music: one long party from second week of December to February 9. Lent and a little public restraint came yesterday on Ash Wednesday as the city of New Orleans tried to get back to normal. What is normal in the Big Easy? Being able to get across town in 15 minutes instead of being stuck in limbo for an hour as parade floats, police cars, and road barriers block traffic. It's a good thing I know the city's groove, but I made a mistake last Saturday and tried to use my normal parade shortcut through Claiborne. Saturday, is the day to take Tchoupitoulas because floats from the Iris parade line up on Claiborne. And forget about doing any work on Sunday or Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras). Mardi Gras is self explanatory, parades, parties, and overall mayhem begin at 8 am. The Sunday before Mardi Gras, a parade passes in front of my house. If friends don't come to me, I am land locked. Next year, I just might ride my bike out of the neighborhood. However, I recall saying something to the effect last year. However, I've learned to let the good times roll and roll with them. The parade is fun and after it's all over and the riders throw beads, hats, stuffed animals, masks, head pieces, doubloons, and more, the heroes of carnival come and sweep away all the garbage. This year was bittersweet because my grandmother has been in and out of the hospital the entire carnival season. My husband and I decided to take advantage of the long weekend and spend Valentine's day with my grandmother in Del Rio. My post is cut short as I head back to Texas in a few hours. As I head back to the world of hospital beds and resilient people, I think of Michele Serros who would have turned 50 this week and Francisco X. Alarcon whom we recently transitioned.

Parade Sweepers
Heroes of carnival leave no signs that a huge parade took place minutes ago.

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