“It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words, and to try is to roll down a road of clichés, bouncing over beignets and beads and brass bands” ~ Chris Rose, from 1 Dead in Attic
Road trip to New Orleans, LA. I’ll be doing lots of singing to tunes on my special playlist all the way, much to Corey’s consternation. Going for job purposes, so we won’t be here nearly long enough to do the real tourist thing, but I’m hoping to run across some interesting finds (again, much to Corey’s consternation). I sorely need an infusion of color in my life, but to be honest, I’m mostly looking forward to the food. I’ll let you know how things turn out.
In the meantime, I found this lovely little bit about what Mardi Gras and New Orleans are really about:
To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out, and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.
Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.
Mardi Gras is bars and restaurants changing out all the CD’s in their jukeboxes to Professor Longhair and the Neville Brothers, and it is annual front-porch crawfish boils hours before the parades so your stomach and attitude reach a state of grace, and it is returning to the same street corner, year after year, and standing next to the same people, year after year–people whose names you may or may not even know but you’ve watched their kids grow up in this public tableau and when they’re not there, you wonder: Where are those guys this year?
It is dressing your dog in a stupid costume and cheering when the marching bands go crazy and clapping and saluting the military bands when they crisply snap to.
Now that part, more than ever.
It’s mad piano professors converging on our city from all over the world and banging the 88’s until dawn and laughing at the hairy-shouldered men in dresses too tight and stalking the Indians under Claiborne overpass and thrilling the years you find them and lamenting the years you don’t and promising yourself you will next year.
It’s wearing frightful color combination in public and rolling your eyes at the guy in your office who–like clockwork, year after year–denies that he got the baby in the king cake and now someone else has to pony up the ten bucks for the next one.
Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once.
~ Chris Rose, from 1 Dead in Attic
Music by Buckwheat Zydeco, “Buck’s Nouvelle Jole Blon” (this version of Jolie Blonde appeared in the credits of The Big Easy)
You know the Beatles could have
afforded another microphone,
but George would always stand
in the middle and step up to
Paul’s when it was time to
join in. Because that’s the way
harmony is, you need to share the
electricity, the voice, the words.
Just the way we do when we drive
in our cars with the radio on,
the windows rolled down with fall in the
air, dead leaves swirling in the wake,
or in the spring, the earth damp and soft,
the air hazy with pollen. We hear
the song that moves us, crank the
radio and sing along, at the top of
our lungs, as if we just joined
the group. In tune out of tune,
country western, rock and roll, we want
to harmonize. A whole country of
would-be stars losing love, finding love
with the radio in different
cars, on different paths, the dark
road rumbling beneath.
~ Stuart Kestenbaum