Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Whimsical Wednesday: The Vibrancy and Revelry of Mardi Gras

As I finish up the last two chapters of the third edition of Moon New Orleans, I can't help but delight in the fact that the boisterous Mardi Gras season has descended upon the Big Easy. Despite long hours of research and writing, it's hard not to emerge from my writer's cave every now and again, if only to appreciate this joyous time in the city, marked as it is by colorful purple-gold-and-green decorations, vibrant parades, and delicious king cakes.

Although, as a native New Orleanian, I've seen my share of Carnival seasons over the years, it's been a long time since I've been in town for Mardi Gras itself, so I'm especially grateful to be here this year. Of course, the Mardi Gras season is rather lengthy. For instance, king cakes – the official delicacy of Mardi Gras – are technically available just after New Year's, while daily and/or nightly parades occur for nearly three weeks prior to Fat Tuesday. Even if you don't like crowds, though, it's truly an ebullient time to be in New Orleans, and the revelry can be downright contagious.

Of course, there's one thing that I've never experienced during Mardi Gras – that's the free-flowing, outrageously kaleidoscopic, musically-oriented procession of Mardi Gras Indian tribes through various neighborhoods – made even more popular by HBO's New Orleans-based show Treme. Maybe, this year, though, I'll finally get my chance to experience this one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras tradition. Well, a girl can dream, can't she?