I’ve lived in two cities that can get, um … a little excited about their sports teams. Although I am caught up in the Carnival season, it hasn’t escaped my notice that the Eagles’ recent Super Bowl win has given my Philly friends a little taste of happy crowds filling the street and even a parade, as well!
The comparison between Carnival in New Orleans and a single victory parade for the Eagles might be a little shaky. But it’s gotten me to thinking.
In the years since our move here in 2014, I’ve cycled through some judgments about the parades, and the season in general. Frivolous. Wasteful. Excessive. Silly. Absurd. Ridiculous. But I’m pretty sure it’s also the most stunning display of a shared public creation I’ve ever witnessed. The depth of participation by almost everyone in this city is astonishing, from the littlest kid in the dance troupe right on up to the King of Carnival. Even the non-participation of those who leave town recognizes the power of the undertaking.
A Facebook comment from a Philly-area friend made me consider that maybe, just maybe, I am morphing into a New Orleanian more quickly than I’d realized.
“Lengthy email from the school district explaining why there WILL still be school on Thursday as normally scheduled despite the fact that there is a parade for the Eagles. Definitely the right decision, but why was it even an issue?”
The longer I’m here, the more clearly I can see past the extremes of revelry, the nuisances of the street closures, and the logistics of trash removal to the artistry and yes, even the triumph of the human spirit. Not to get too philosophical, but there’s a reason people wax poetic about this town. The shared celebration truly does bring people together in a common human experience, something that can be so very elusive.
Despite the fact that there is a parade, regular life is waiting just steps behind the crowd of cheering fans, whether they are shouting for beads or Eagles. In the midst of a cold, dark season, up north … I do not begrudge my Philly friends for one pretty epic parade.