I spent nine years living in Louisiana after high school – five years in Baton Rouge at LSU for college and four years in New Orleans at Tulane Medical School. PWM and I moved from New Orleans to Kentucky after I graduated in 1994 and then in 1997 from Kentucky to Wisconsin. So, it’s been 18 years since I lived in Louisiana, but I still miss Mardi Gras. Of course, when I first started at LSU, I thought it was kind of strange to have a couple of days off in the spring for Mardi Gras, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I didn’t spend Mardi Gras in New Orleans until I lived there in medical school, and I never spent it in the French Quarter – not my style.
But, I loved the parades, even (and perhaps, even, mostly) the Baton Rouge parades. After PWM and I married, we were just a couple of blocks off the Metarie parade route, so we saw several of those, except for the year when I had my appendix out a few days before Mardi Gras (but that’s a story for another day). I loved the beads, all the cups, the bands, the floats, almost everything. I wasn’t crazy about the half-dressed little girls strutting down the street – really, why do you need do dress up your six year old like an exotic dancer? But, we always had plenty of plastic cups! Every year, right when winter was getting so dreary, we had a couple of weeks of Mardi Gras madness to lighten things up.
I’ve lived up here for the last 18 years and I still think of Mardi Gras every spring. Having TV, the internet, and Facebook certainly makes it easy when I see all my friends posting about parades, etc. But, the dreariness of winter up here also makes me think about Mardi Gras. By the middle of February and certainly by March, we’re ready for something besides the short, cold days of winter (even mild winters like this year). This year, we were planning to go to a Mardi Gras event put on by Wega Arts and we were invited to a Mardi Gras party the same night hosted by a friend of mine from college (she lives a couple of hours away, but it certainly would have been feasible), but we didn’t get to go to either event because I had a terrible migraine. I was really bummed because the local event was catered by a Cajun restaurant just an hour away from here that we hadn’t heard of before; I think we’ll by trying out their cuisine soon! The Knitting Nest had a Mardi Gras themed window for a couple of weeks as well, although I hope I do better planning next year and get a little more creative. In any case, I’m trying to remember a little bit of Louisiana here in Wisconsin.
Happy Mardi Gras everyone! Laissez Les Bon Tons Roullez!