[click twice on video above]
Three years ago I had my first Mardi Gras experience — in New Orleans. It was part of my “Church Lady Cakes” project. Johari Roshad and I went to New Orleans with a suit case of pound cakes for her friends. It was not so much the shock and awe that took me by surprise. Personally, I ignored that. I was actually noting all the families out and about watching the parades. Personally I think it’s tourists who are the exhibitionists.
This video is from Fat Tuesday in downtown New Orleans where Johari and I set out in the AM to see the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club march. Now, before everybody jumps on the PC bandwagon (reminder, the term “PC” was at one time a joke among liberals for being toooo culturally sensitive), let the Zulu’s, an African American krewe, tell their own story and meaning or history of the black face they continue to wear today in the parades. As Leah Chase reminded me about New Orleans “This is something else.” It’s not the south that I’m accustomed to. Zulu coconuts are the most prized possessions. I have two thanks to the kindness of strangers who brought them to me.
After that experience, I made a goal for myself that I’d try to see at least 5 major Carnivals or Mardi Gras celebrations around the world. Here are some potential candidates:
Brazil (reports say Rio is toning things down to tidy up for the Olympic Games in 2016)
Mobile, AL (claims to be the birthplace of Mardi Gras in the US)
Haiti (called off this year, but like New Orleans in 2007, they’ll be back someday)
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Reminder, Carnival begins on the 12th Night, Epiphany, or 3 Kings Day (after Christmas) and comes to a climax on Fat Tuesday. At midnite the Christian Lent season begins. Fat Tuesday is the final day to indulge in the pleasures of the material world before Ash Wednesday when fasting and abstinence (it’s your choice) begins until Easter Sunday. And then it starts all over again the next year. Indulge, repent, indulge, repent.
Laissez les bon temps roulez!