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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mardi Gras in New Orleans


Yesterday, I talked about Fat Tuesday. SO--today, on Ash Wednesday, I'll talk about Mardi Gras. The years I lived in New Orleans (1983-88) were some wonderful years. I got my divorce in 1982 and moved from Jacksonville, FL to New Orleans to work as Director of Christian Education at Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church there. My oldest son was in college, so when I moved, I had my two younger boys with me (ages 12 and 13). I shared an older home with my friend Cathy and her daughter in the "Uptown" area of New Orleans on Prytania Street. Our children went to school on the streetcar... How many people can say that?????


Life was busy back then--as you can imagine, with two women working fulltime and raising teenagers at the same time!!!! But---we always seemed to find time to have some fun living in that area. One thing that all five of us enjoyed immensely was MARDI GRAS. Another thing that we also enjoyed was the 1984 World's Fair. I'll blog about it sometime!


Until I moved to Nawlins, I always thought of Mardi Gras as being a time when everyone got drunk, put on skimpy costumes (or not many clothes at all) ---and danced around!!!! NOT!!! That may have happened--but we got involved in the parades in different areas, not down in the French Quarter. The Mardi Gras parades and balls went on for about 3 weeks before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Believe it or not, one year our family went to TWENTY EIGHT different parades in the areas around Nawlins (including Metarie and Kenner). Seems like we went to a different parade almost every evening during that three weeks.


We LOVED the parades---and we loved going home with all kinds of 'treasures' (they called them 'throws') that the people on the floats would pitch to us. We actually collected boxes and boxes of beads, doubloons, cups, etc... We were REALLY into it!!! And Cathy's daughter (being a beautiful teenage girl) got some special throws (like LONG beads among other things). We loved getting those long beads--and those 'special' doubloons. When we'd get home each night, we'd sit down and check out all of the wonderful things we got!!! (When I left New Orleans for Houston in 1988, we sold all of our 'treasures' since we had boxes and boxes of them. )


My kids will tell you that "I" became one of the kids when chasing after all of the JUNK!!!! I even stomped on a child's hand one time---when he was trying to get "MY" treasure... How dare that kid steal my stuff!!!!! ha ha (AND---ask my sons --Mark and Jeff-- about the time someone did try to steal my bag of goodies... We chased that kid down the street--and retrieved my bag!!! Think that kid thought I was going to kill him!!!! ha)


I will tell you though that we enjoyed the parades along St. Charles Avenue--and we did NOT go down into the French Quarter area (where 'naughty' stuff may have been going on)... The route along St. Charles was more 'family oriented'--so we enjoyed that the most. AND---during those three weeks of celebration, we'd also enjoyed sharing some King Cake... There was a plastic baby hidden in the cake, and the person who got the baby had to BUY the next cake... FUN!!!!


Like I said, we took in about 28 different parades over a 3 week period. The weekend before Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday was the biggest and busiest. We loved watching the Krewe of Bacchus Parade, Endymion, Zulu, Rex---and of course the big truck parade on Fat Tuesday. Hearing those bands come down the street (especially the St. Aug band) and seeing the flambeaux made shivers run up and down my spine!!!! We were all so sad when it was over for the year!


I'm glad I had the opportunity to live in New Orleans BACK in the DAY! I don't think I'd want to go back there now--since the hurricane. It's just too sad!!!! But experiencing Mardi Gras is something I will NEVER forget!!!

Today is ASH WEDNESDAY. Are you going to church today or tonight to 'burn' your sins???? I enjoy the Ash Wednesday service so much!!! AND---now begins Lent... Are you giving up something for Lent??? I've always added something for Lent rather than to give something up. Possible things to add: contact an old friend or friends; visit or call a loved one you haven't contacted lately; pray more; read the Bible more; attend a Bible Study or Spiritual Growth study... Just some thoughts for you --as we begin the Christian season of Lent.
Hugs,



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On another note, my friend SHELLEY is having a wonderful giveaway on her site. Click on her name and check it out!!!!