Saturday, February 25, 2006
Before you swallow the national news on this year's Mardi Gras (including the its local echo on Channels 2, 4, & 5), read this well-rounded treatment by a Times-Picayune reporter. You'll get some perspective from natives, which should cause temperance of the transmitted stereotypes and sound-bites to which we will be exposed before Lent sets in on Ash Wednesday. For instance, were you aware that Carnival segregates locals from tourists, encouraging the latter to stay in "a Disneyland, French Quarter-Garden District version of Mardi Gras," away from New Orleans' "real culture"? The real Carnival in New Orleans is like a neighborhood-by-neighborhood reunion of local families, who gather on street corners to watch privately-sponsored parades and share food and drink. That sounds like tonic for weary and storm-tossed souls to me; so, why would we ever blame them for having Carnival this year?