It Rained on Our Parade
That was the strangest Mardi Gras ever. Rain and cold weather put a damper on what might have been the biggest, best New Orleans Mardi Gras ever. Although from what I gather, everyone had a different experience as a result of the inclement weather.
We let go of the idea of costuming in exchange for layers of clothing and umbrellas, left the house later than we might have otherwise, drove down deserted streets in a light cold rain, then found a place to park one block away from niece’s apartment in the Faubourg Marigny. It was a shock at 8:30 a.m. and not looking like Mardi Gras at all.
We piled into her apartment where she was cooking and putting out a spread of food. We brought in a bucket of boiled crawfish. There was hardly anyone on the streets. When the rain was coming down lightly, we argued that perhaps it was the best opportunity to pay a visit to another cousin partying with friends a block away at the Feelings Cafe.
The cafe was starting to fill with seriously costumed people, one of whom I’d never have recogzined if he hadn’t lifted his mask — my cousin in hot pink regalia! They were inside, comfy, drinking, eating and having a good time in spite of what was going on outside.
Not to crash their party, after a bit of time ‘schmoozing’ we headed to another party nearby and discovered a troupe of clowns in dayglo yellow just sitting in a circle getting their nerve up to brave the weather. Part of the tradition of Shrove Tuesday, sometimes also known as “Pancake Day,” the guests were flipping pancakes for good luck. The tradition goes, in order to eat up everything in the house before Lent, making pancakes finishes off the leftover flour, sugar and milk. For some reason, French style crèpes are “de rigeur.”
The trick is to make a perfect pancake, so perfect, that it can be flipped while holding a coin, making a wish and in this case, reciting a poem in French. I was reluctant as I have a history of turning pancakes into rubber, but being called a ‘party pooper’ was enough to provide a challenge. My pancake was perfect, but for the life of me, it wasn’t leaving the surface of the pan no matter how hard I tried to flip it up! Everyone laughed until I cried and when it finally went flying up, it landed perfectly and was a picture of perfection, although I had been too busy to make a wish. At least I could read the French.
Driving home at noon to end our Mardi Gras early, we saw cars headed home, too, just like us, looking forward to a lazy afternoon inside the house next to a fireplace and watching TV while the rain kept coming down. On the TV, the reports showed miserable paraders bearing the weather and a few spectators under umbrellas. We were glad to be among them!
Schuyler Hoffman (long time faithful associate) had a different story to report. After strolling the streets of the Marigny with a multitude of other Mardi Gras-ers, he landed in the Hermes Bar at Antoine’s in the French Quarter with a lot of partying kind of costumed people having an absolute blast and calling it the best Mardi Gras ever!
A la prochaine…
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(at Preservation Hall, New Orleans)
P.S. Last week I lost my agenda in a taxi cab. In it, the most valuable thing…more than the appointments!…was my ITWPA Press Pass. I’m a card-carrying member of the International Travel Writer’s and Photographer’s alliance (ITWPA) which gets me free access to anywhere the press can go. New exhibitions in Paris are a breeze — with the pass, in most cases, I can walk straight up to the front of the line and be given VIP treatment, while saving me the cost of admission. Then soon after, you might be reading all about my experience! I miss my pass — and look forward to a fast replacement! Meanwhile, you can have the press pass, too — just by clicking here and learning how to become a member like me!
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