Some time has gone by since my last post. We made it through the July 22 and August 5 flooding, and my first official hurricane, Nate, which was thankfully a non-event in New Orleans and became a good excuse for a porch party. We elected our first woman mayor, hired an interim Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board, and endured a number of below-freezing nights.
But now, it’s Carnival time! This is one of the New Orleans rhythms that runs counter to a lifetime of Januaries spent holed up indoors, cooking large pots of comfort food, and emerging only as required to earn a living or shovel snow. Starting on January 6, the festivities build, week by week, to a final, bacchanlian frenzy on Mardi Gras day. After making it through my first Mardi Gras season in 2015, my main realization was that Lent makes sense down here. You need it to recover.
Last year, I joined one of the many ladies’ marching crews that have proliferated in the past decade or so. My neighbor, who was already a member of the Dames de Perlage, made it look so fun that I decided to take a chance. Much to my own surprise, it was pretty fun. Hard to explain, but parading in a costume based around a hand-beaded corset actually makes sense in this town.
So, here I am in Year #2 as a Dame. Last year, I first learned that “glitter” can be used as a verb, and then, indeed, learned how to do it. I learned about the comforting properties of moleskin, Epsom salt and lavender essential oil for tired feet. I learned how to do what needs to be done in a port-a-potty on a moving trailer, and about waiting around for hours in the Rouse’s parking lot before a parade begins. With the basics under my belt, I am getting excited for our practice march with the Lyons Club this coming Sunday, when we all put our costumes to the test by strolling from bar to bar, drinking.
Then, it’s show time! We will be in parades the following two weekends, and our own Dame Fine Second Line in the Quarter on Lundi Gras, which is the Monday before Mardi Gras day.
Oh, and I learned to pace myself, eat and hydrate. Around here, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.