Saturday, February 18, 2006

Mardi Gras is in my Genes

It is not Fat Tuesday yet, but the parades have started. Up until my late late 30’s almost every year, I went to Mardi Gras, parades from New Orleans all the way to Pensacola, FL. For years, I had a second home balcony apartment on St. Peters at Pirate’s Alley shared with a friend in the French Quarter and was in many of the parades that spanned this area.

Note: For ones that are not familiar with my hometown area it is on the eastside of the Mobile Bay on an island at the southern most tip of Alabama. The beaches are like sugar along the Gulf of Mexico coastline bordering the Florida state line. An island called Pleasure Isle including cities Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

In 1988, I was Mardi Gras Queen not in N.O. but within this area of celebration. This is a huge event that the South looks forward to all year long, just thinking about it, it floods my mind with lively memories. For a couple weeks, it is non-stop fun and excitement including the Balls and riding the floats for us that belonged to organizations. For years, though even as a child standing in the crowd begging for beads is a trance type feeling you never forget. I always found the floats were more beautiful in Mobile, Alabama and the throws (goodies thrown from the floats) were better in New Orleans, La. Wow, for the weeks of celebration and all the scheduled parades, I would usually do the local Mobile area first off and then head over to New Orleans for the grand finale week.

Mobilians trace the roots of their Mardi Gras festival to 1703, years before New
Orleans ever recognized the holiday. Today, the Fat Tuesday celebrations take
place the two weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday, during which there is almost
constant activity.
I have mixed emotions right now though with watching coverage of New Orleans and their decision to spend over 2 million on going ahead with Mardi Gras this year. I have listened to both sides with opinions on if this should be going on. I understand why business owners need it along with some locals but ones that have lost loves ones and everything they own I can see where this celebration is not what they feel needs to be happening. What are your thoughts on this matter?

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