With Twelfth Night in the rear view, New Orleans, the Gulf Coast and beyond steps into the most amazing time of the year — Carnival.
For outsiders, this time of year brings to mind the clichés that are always shown on TV and social media — risqué revelers in the French Quarter, throngs of people dressed in green, purple and gold, and beads for days.
So many beads.
Obviously, all of those things are part of the Carnival season (even though the risqué aspect is a bit overblown) and to be enjoyed, but the season is so much more.
Carnival is about sharing.
Think about it — almost everything about Carnival is about sharing. We share the sidewalks together, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the neutral ground, we open our doors to friends and family. Float riders share their throws neutral ground side and sidewalk side alike. As we’re all crammed together on the streets of New Orleans we share our food, we share our drink, we share stories and, most importantly, memories.
Carnival is about caring for one another.
During the parades as the floats roll by, we protect each others’ heads, we catch beads and hand them to children. As the last floats disappear down St. Charles Avenue, we help each other clean up (some folks could do a better job in this department). Then, the very next day, we’ll walk blocks upon blocks just so we can hang at our good friends’ “spot” — another way of showing that we care.
Carnival is about our time together.
We care for one another and share what we have with one another. “Here, have this last piece of king cake,” or “Who wants this last piece of Popeyes?” These are beautiful days to be remembered. This Carnival season we’ll head to the French Quarter to watch Melanie and the Merry Antoinettes strut their stuff in the Krewe Bohème parade. We’ll also be cheering on Ladybeast’s new show, “Vaude d’Gras – Broken Circus,” at the Marigny Opera House.
We’ll dance with friends and strangers alike. We’ll gather around the crawfish table peeling and eating crawfish. We’ll laugh and laugh and laugh. If you need us, give us a call and, if we don’t answer, you can find us on St. Charles Avenue, sidewalk side, waving our hands in the air.
Happy Carnival, y’all.