It’s Valentine’s Day 2015.
More importantly, it’s time for the Endymion Mardi Gras Parade down in New Orleans. I got an unexpected invitation and packed up the minivan and fled suburbia to come down to this thriving, pulsing city and be a part of the biggest parade of the year here in the Deep South.
It took nearly an hour to drive the .5 mile from one end of the street to our destination. Roads blocks, people *everywhere*, and cars upon more cars. Finally, we arrived. The children took scouting missions to see what was happening around the corner. Floats lining up. Folks out on their porches and yards laughing and greeting everyone around them. Music blaring from speakers and the huge stage set up in the center of a field. The crowds are intense. Happy, but intense. You snake your way around and run into coolers and lawn chairs “blocking off” sections for families to congregate. Ladders are set up for kids to get a better view. The weather is perfect: bright and sunny with a light breeze. I’ve never seen anything like this town during Mardi Gras! As we drove in, folks running up to our car, lip synching and giving us high-fives, my middle son commented that this town takes their Mardi Gras decorations more seriously than Christmas. And he’s right: colorful banners and bunting grace all the porches. Dramatic wreathes adorn the doors. Streamers. But more than anything: people are on their porches in full force! This town has turned into an enormous block party, where, if only for a few days, everyone is your neighbor. It fills the air and makes you do this funny lilting dance step as you walk by porch after porch.
Somewhere in this crowd, my adult son and his wife are here with her sister enjoying the party as well. Hopefully, we’ll connect post-parade. It’s time to go. More pictures to come in another post!