I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 2008 in the company of a dear friend and NOLA native.
I fell in love with the brave, tawdry, tattered, crippled, sassy city. Mardi Gras. Lessez le bon temps roulez! When the sun went down, the city was beautiful again; with people dancing in the streets, laughing, singing, beseeching the costumed float riders for beads as the gaudy, glittering majestic Endymion floats rolled majestically down the street and the high-stepping St. Augustine band blew their horns to high heaven loudly enough to let God and the rest of us all know that Endymion was back.
I had never been to New Orleans before. It was always a city of barely imagined dreams for me. The reality was beautiful and brutal at the same time. My friend drove me around the 9th Ward…where devastation still reigned supreme. Empty, boarded up houses with what my friend called the “toilet ring” – the highwater mark left by the floods of that bitch, Katrina. We both wept. So many contrasts; beauty and ugliness. The 9th Ward and the French Quarter.
Tonight’s episode of “Treme” took me back there. The music. The beads. The laughing faces, the dancing and music. There was even a king cake. It made me long to be back there, in that brave, tattered city. I miss New Orleans.
I’ll go back someday.