High hopes for Mardi Gras parade
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016
This Saturday will be my first Mardi Gras parade so I don’t know what to expect.
Last Sunday night, I had to go to Slidell and, as I drove along Gause Boulevard, I noticed police barricades lined the street. As far as I could see, to the left and right, plastic beads covered the ground.
They crunched beneath my tires and, in my headlights, gold and purple glittered dimly.
The whole scene seemed like the aftermath of the happiest riot ever, as though a big bomb of euphoria had been let loose.
Then I remembered the Mardi Gras parade the day prior.
I asked a friend of mine about Picayune’s parade Saturday. I asked, “It starts at two, right?”
She said it does, but I’d want to get there earlier. How much earlier? Ten in the morning.
I asked if she was serious and she assured me she was. If I waited much longer, I was told, I’d not get a space at all.
Clearly, this is not a regular parade.
I am informed there is sort of a pregame ritual observed, wherein people line the course early and bring ice chests filled with drinks and snacks, grills and chairs.
I suppose I am not surprised. In the heart of the SEC, where tailgating is about as celebrated as the games themselves, I should have expected some pre-emptive entertainment like this.
Still, these parades sound distinct even from other parades in the region.
I have attended parades in New Orleans in the past, though never during Mardi Gras season.
I am looking forward to a trip down to see what all the fuss is about but, to be honest, I am even more thrilled for the chance to walk out the front door, walk down a few blocks, and set up and await the action.
See you on Saturday, and if you see me out, come say hello.