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I made it through the Mardi Gras season without watching a ball, buying a King Cake, seeing a parade, indeed I haven't been having a whole lot of fun lately period. Not that I was against celebrating, mind you, it's just that I really wasn't in the spirit. Katrina aside, I've lost so many dear friends that helped make my life special, so many who shared good times, it's just hard to imagine participating in major events like these without them any more.

I am happy that so many locals, who know what Mardi Gras is about, were able to have a little respite from the pain and aggravation of recovery and frustration here, and that New Orleans appeared to get a little much-needed "good press" for a change. It really is all about family, you know.

I have had a few memorable Fat Tuesdays. I remember before the flashing thing took over, it was fashionable and really fun to mask and kiss strange girls in the streets for favors---we were masked you see? Who would know?---(Oh, sorry Eileen, I only kissed girls **LOL**), an activity I've always found quite stimulating, less tacky, much more interesting, and far healthier than the crass, crude, and creepy voyeurism that goes on in the streets now.

One of my worse Mardi Gras experiences, however, barely got off the ground. My girlfriend and I masked, as usual, I going as a handsome prince (lol) and she as a beautiful princess. We fried chicken the night before, made potato salad, bought a few snacks including a quart of Southern Comfort, which I had never drunk before, and got our costumes ready. I was 20, I think, and not a very sophisticated drinker.

Well, we took the bus to the Algiers Ferry, munching on fried egg and bacon sandwiches, and watching the revelers get on the bus in their colorful costumes and paraphernalia. It's not the same today. Back then you stood out if you didn't dress in costume. We met up with some friends at the ferry, one of whom had a bottle of Boone's Farm something or other, and swapped an egg and bacon sandwich for a dixie cup of their chilled wine.

I have to tell you, the colors on the ferryboat became more and more vivid, and every wave on the river a little more rhythmical. I danced with a couple of girls I'd gone to grade school with from my hometown, moving to music only we could here. It was lots of fun, although we didn't do any kissing because, well, I was and am really shy, I did know these girls, and I wasn't THAT gone yet.

They did see our bottle of Southern Comfort, however, and we had a couple of shots before we docked, just to warm up a little. Even with the dancing, it was a pretty chilly day, and that wind off the river can bite you pretty hard.

It was a little after 8 a.m. when we hit Canal Street, and already it was a sea of people, getting ready for the parades, and setting up their turf along the "neutral ground" where the streetcars normally pass. By then, that Southern Comfort was tasting pretty good. I started up again, feeling pretty bold, since there were those occasional lovelies along the way who were up for a warm morning wake-up (my kisses are so hot! *lol* My girlfriend could have told you... of course, she didn't need the lure of liquor to attract kisses of her own but this is MY story!).

We headed into the quarter, down Royal Street, where things were considerably less family oriented, but nothing like the tawdry debacle it is today. Suddenly, I began to feel a little less giddy, and the old historic buildings around us seemed to press heavily into my being. We sat in the "stoop" of someones apartment to rest and, with my girlfriend huddled next to me, her head resting on my shoulder, we fell asleep for five minutes (?) or so.

I soon heard people talking around me, sensed people looking at us, cracked my eyelids open, and saw some people taking our pictures. I was a little embarrassed and beginning to feel more sick than happy, and I roused my girlfriend from her nap. Of course, the bottle of Southern Comfort that was next to her was gone, replaced by two cans of Bud which we left there.

We still had the chicken though, and I munched on a crispy breast as we headed to the studio of an artist-turned-photographer we'd been invited to visit to watch the passing parade from his studio and balcony. There's a long, winding, creaky stairway up to the second floor, but I didn't make it that far. The steps suddenly seemed to be rising up to meet as my legs got heavier and heavier. I finally sat to rest on the landing while my girlfriend went up to announce we were there.

Within a few minutes, I was out like a light. My girlfriend hadn't drunk nearly as much as me, so I can only imagine how good a time she had. Someone took a coat and spread it over me, and I do remember a strange lady wiping my forehead with a cool towel. I don't remember seeing my girlfriend much, however. *lol*

Every once in a while I'd hear voices and open my eyes to see people pass me (usually some kind of local or even national celebrity, since our artist/photographer "friend" had connections all over and was a big favorite with musicians, actors, etc.) I was so humiliated when I'd see someone I recognized, but thankful they didn't know me from Adam. I remember their startled eyes when they'd see me lying there, on occasions when I was semi-conscious, thinking, "Oh, my God! They must think I'm a derelict!"

By dusk, I'd recovered enough to get up, but all I wanted to do was go home. I was so hungry, but the chicken was gone, of course, and all there was left to eat were cold beignets (like bricks) and some kind of pate which tasted like damp clay. It was like a blur, but a couple of people tried to be sympathetic and told me not to feel bad because everyone had gotten a good laugh about it.

That made me feel really good, of course. I was taking medicine for a condition called "psychomotor convulsive," btw, which my girlfriend had thankfully mentioned to everyone, explaining that I wasn't supposed to drink at all. It helped me save face, but not much.

So that's my story. I basically missed all of Mardi Gras that day, but I lived to tell the story. Now, is it real, or all in my head?

P.S. Oh, I forgot the best part. Years later, a friend of mine I hadn't seen in years told me a photographer he knew had taken our picture and had either sold it or tried to sell it to a magazine, but I never did hear anything about it. He recognized me in the picture immediately, of course, and said it was a great shot, but he thought we had posed for it. We hadn't.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
nice story :D I was wondering if you were doing the mardi gras thing this year. I have only been once and we had the best time. It was 1996 and I was only 24! I will have to get out the pictures and relive the memories. :)
We did go to New Orleans again but it was for a comic book convention nad that was in 1999. It was lots of fun.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
Oh and I forgot to say if it is real or not... I think it is real :)
Mar. 2nd, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
I know ... I was gonna ... **LOL**

You are so entertaining!

Stay tuned!!
Mar. 2nd, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
Maybe I am too trusting but I will say it's real.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
You people must think I have the most interesting life! ***ROFL***
Mar. 2nd, 2006 05:17 pm (UTC)
It has to be more interesting than mine.....
Mar. 2nd, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
ooo icon <3 - milla :)

i went through a drinking period in my early 20s and had black outs. so i ran around doing i don't even know what. one day i had bruises in very suspicious places and was pretty sure what happened as i was out with someone... thats when i moved away and tried to change my life. for the first time.

so i think it was real and not in your head.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
So sorry to hear about what is unfortunately all to common an experience for women. There are men that have some sense of decency and respect for women, as you surely know, not many but a few.

Btw, feel free to use my Milla icon if you wish. She looks a little like my old girlfriend here. **LOL**

I'll reveal the "truth" later.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
Okay, I just got back from work and read this. Hmmm...I think this one is real, although my instincts say it isn't. So, I'll have to say is isn't all true.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, Kat ... you know me so well, don't you??? Don't think I had it in me, do you? Hhmmm, let's see ... what did you think of my last "story?" **LOL**

I just got a call from the library and am going to pick up 3 Women. Boy, I've really got my hands full these days. (Oh, my!)

We shall see.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...3 at once? No wonder your jogging is suffering. ;) That's a movie I haven't seen. Please let me know what you think about it.

I'll answer the "Don't think I had it in me, do you?" question after you tell us the answer. Ha! See, we're not the only ones waiting now. LOL!!!

Well???!!!!??? No, I'm not impatient. ;)
Mar. 3rd, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
I saw 3 Women twice already years ago. I love it. Just going back to some old favorites. I also picked up Westside Story and My Fair Lady.

Oh, and one thing God has blessed (or cursed) me with is patience, so your little teases have little or no effect on me! So far. **lol**
Mar. 3rd, 2006 12:08 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'll netflix that one. And, I've never seen Westside Story, the reason why is a long story, so I'll put that one there, too. I abosutely adore My Fair Lady.

Hmmm...no effect? We'll see; I can be stubborn too. LOL!!

Mar. 2nd, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
*scratching head*

Okay, I just read it.

I don't know;

My answer is that I think some parts of the story are true, while others aren't.

(but it looks very true though!) :D
Mar. 3rd, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
Oh JuJu, you are too much!

Yes ... no ... maybe so ... I don't know. Is it the French in us that makes us speak so? All of my relatives speak like that too!

But I will put you on the spot, Mademoiselle. Which parts of my story do you not think are true? Hhmmm?
Mar. 3rd, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
Well, it's also about the photograph; I thought that if the photograph would have appeared in a magazine, no matter how old it is, it's feseable to find it, especially with internet, but that's just a guess.

And even though you have been drinking, the fact of dancing with other girls, while you were with your girlfriend, I am not sure about this one either.

But then, It could be true, It's just a guess, ;)
Mar. 3rd, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
Now Judith, that was very perceptive of you. Very logical. I think you would make a good detective.

I will tell you the truth about these two things. It is true about the photographer taking our picture. My friend worked in the print medium at the time and saw the photograph. I simply don't know whether the photographer actually sold it or not, and don't remember the photographer's name. But that was very sharp of you to be sceptical.

As far as the dancing, it was like dancing in the streets, you know? There were just rhythms and sounds and we were getting into the spirit of things. Everybody danced with everyone at least a little at Mardi Gras, even if they just swaying to the beat. It was just innocent fun (at least in my case).
Mar. 2nd, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'm a cheap drinker, and I'm proud.... *drools @ the thought of Boones Strawberry Hill*

I'm sorry you didn't find much fun in this year's celebration... I was really hoping you would, because well, you all need your spirits lifted right about now, don't you?

Mar. 2nd, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
I hardly ever drink but I'm a cheap drunk too! **LOL** Like, who am I trying to impress?

But you forgot to tell me whether you thought my story is true or not. (I guess we know where your interests lie! How easily distracted you get.)

Oh, and thanks for the kind words as usual. You are so sweet.
Mar. 2nd, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Oops, sorry! *lol*

Um.... I have to say half & half - if not mostly true, then it's at least half true... *lol*
Mar. 3rd, 2006 12:10 am (UTC)
One of my students just returned from Louisiana, where he worked for an organization called "Common Ground", in the 9th ward of New Orleans. He wants to go back.

Unfortunately, right now he has nowhere to live in SoCal, and has been walking around the past few days with a hiker's backpack.

He will not go to Student Services, who will assist him with housing.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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