When I was seven years old my mom and I moved down to South Louisiana from Shreveport. It was a change that was interesting, but I never really experienced, as I was still in my sponge like stage where I didn’t really absorb…I don’t really remember the first time I experienced Mardi Gras. I am sure the holiday was much more of a change for my mom being a teacher as there was a new 3 day holiday just after Christmas. When I started experiencing the season, I was in awe of the floats and the colors and I believe I even owned one of those awful striped polo shirts. I don’t really remember my first parade…the first parade I remember was my sophomore year of high school when I was introducing my mom to my sweet sixteen date. Before that, it’s all a blur, which is actually quite fitting for the season. Today however, I shall recap my top Mardi Gras experiences:
(disclaimer: I am embarrassed by the power a boy who I just “loved” had in all of these)
Mardi Gras 2000: His name was Josh, and my oh my how I was just as in love as a 17-year-old kid could be. We had broken up a couple weeks before, but this little lass was invited with her love and his older brother to New Orleans. He held my hand as men on Bourbon grabbed my caboose. He led me through doors by placing his hand in the small of my back. He protected me, and that my friend is more than a girl “in love” could have asked for. It was so romantic. Well as romantic as watching people pee in the street and girls showing their boobs for plastic beads could be.
Mardi Gras 2001: Mr. Strohm…Oh how I had the biggest crush on this one. For months before we hand danced around our little love affair, but there was one fateful Saturday night, Mardi Gras 2001, that I just could not ignore. To understand the full gravity of Mr. Strohm you first have to wrap your head around the fact that I was the “typical” college freshman girl. Yep I do believe I was the girl who talked to loud, danced up on stages, and well, annoyed the ever-living bajeebees out of all those who hand the unprivileged of being in my presence. Mr. Strohm, well I am quite convinced that he rescued me one fateful night while I was crying over the lost love of Josh. He sat on the hood of my car with me while I cried. I was instantly “in love.” Go figure. So, Mardi Gras came after months and months of us dancing around the fact that we liked each other and I met him and his fraternity brothers on St. Charles for Endymion. The parade ended and he walked me back to my car. He decided he needed to come home with me. Well that evening I was staying at my mom’s. Her house was 20 minutes away as opposed to mine which was 1 hour away. So he came home with me. It was there that I sat on the counter till all hours of the night while he and I chatted away. Then he kissed me. I can still feel that kiss to this day. It was sweet. As sweet as a kiss can be when it tastes of hand grenades and jello shots. The next morning my mom made us bengeits and I took him back to NOLA. He kissed me good-bye. We dated for 3 years, and that night is still my favorite memory. That night still holds the spot for top Mardi Gras experience.
This year was one parade, in Lafayette. It was interesting in comparison to the greater New Orleans area parades. The floats were fun, but looked like what we constructed in high school for homecoming. But oh the Opelusas Marching band….what hams. They were exactly what I love about marching bands in Mardi Gras. They hammed it up for the camera and did there jig as they played popular hip hop songs on their brass and drums. The drum major did the typical march, while bobbing up and down. It was like I was home again. Thank you, Opelusas High School Marching Band!
Next year…I will do Mardi Gras right. Till then…
…lifetimes of paper rainbows…W the mambo-ing artichoke