So Mardi Gras has come and gone, much to my relief. I always love the first weekend of Mardi Gras, because it’s very localized and very family-friendly. Every year, though, fratty types from around the nation descend upon our city the Friday before Fat Tuesday to terrorize our neighborhoods by peeing in our yards, vomiting in our trash cans and leaving broken tequila bottles and crushed beer cans everywhere. Bleargh. The sense of entitlement that radiates in waves off of these boneheads is amazing - on Friday night, Dave and I came home to find frat boys vomiting in our trash can, and we asked them why they didn't close the lid when they were done (the smell was THAT awful).
Idiot Boy #1 replied, "You shouldn't live here if you care."
Me: "The other 51 weeks of the year I don't have to care."
(Yeah, I was just not having it.)
I don't mind people parking in our neighborhood, having a great time, etc. But the second weekend of Mardi Gras has almost turned into an excuse to act like a moron and treat this city like a personal playground (sort of an R-rated Disney World, where the residents of uptown New Orleans are in fact employees of drunken college students, and should tidy up after them).
On Sunday, as we walked the three blocks down to St. Charles to meet up with our neighbors for Bacchus, we saw a girl (commando-style, actually) hike up her dress and squat in the front yard of a house. We might not have noticed her had it not been for her cheerful shrieks of, "HAPPY MARDI GRAS!"
I have only one very cool story from Mardi Gras. Last year our neighbor, Jay, was the Big Shot of Zulu. Zulu was the first black krewe in New Orleans (and one of the first to integrate, actually).Zulu is the first parade on Fat Tuesday, and it marked its 100th anniversary this year. They also have one of the most prized Mardi Gras throws - hand-painted coconuts.
We went to Zulu yesterday and managed to end up with two coconuts (yay!) but what we really wanted was a Zulu second line parasol. Alas, it was not to be.
So last night we were grilling out on our front porch with friends when Jay got home from the parade finally. He was still mostly in costume and looked exhausted. We complimented him on the parade (which was awesome, as usual), and he shared with us the good news that he and his wife will be the king and queen of Zulu next year (block party time!). He asked if we got our coconuts, and we replied that we did, but we were disappointed about the parasols, because we wanted to use parasols in our wedding to second line into our reception (a second line is a parade at weddings and funerals in New Orleans – the bride has a white parasol, the groom waves a black one, and the wedding party uses hankerchiefs…and they usually follow a brass band, making the band the first line and the wedding party the – you guessed it – second line).
He said, "Walk with me."
I followed him into his living room, and he gave me both the 100th anniversary Zulu Coca-Cola bottle (which almost NO one got yesterday) and the white, decorated parasol his wife used at the Zulu ball this year. She said, "It might not be what we hand out at the parade, but you'll know it's a hand-decorated Zulu parasol used by the Queen of Zulu!"
How cool is that? I’m using the Zulu Queen’s parasol at our wedding!