I love Chris Rose, the Times-Picayune columnist. I always thought he was funny, and now he's my hero.
He has done so many great post-Katrina columns; he has even shared his personal depression concerning the storm. In a December 13th column, he forcefully argues for this year's Mardi Gras, and I wish everyone would read what he writes:
And here's a simple, not-so-eloquent reason why: If we don't have Mardi Gras, then the terrorists win. The last thing we need right now is to divide ourselves over our most cherished event.
The terrorists win! You have to admit that's funny... And he knows the truth-- Mardi Gras is more than the rest of the country might think it is.
If the national news wants to show people puking on Bourbon Street as a metaphor for some sort of displaced priorities in this town, so be it. The only puking I've seen at Mardi Gras in the past 10 years is little babies throwing up on their mothers' shoulders after a bottle.
To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out, and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.
Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.
Well, what is it then, Chris?
Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods and our joy of living. All at once.
And it doesn't really matter if there are superparades or even any parades at all this year. Because some group of horn players will grab their instruments and they will march Down the Avenue because that's what they do, and I, for one, will follow.
If there are no parades, I'm hitching a boombox to a wagon, putting James Booker on the CD player and pulling my kids Down the Avenue and you're welcome to come along with me and where more than two tribes gather, there is a parade.
No Grinch can steal Mardi Gras!
We are the parade. We are Mardi Gras. We're Whoville, man -- you can take away the beads and the floats and all that crazy stuff, but we're still coming out into the street. Cops or no cops. Post-parade garbage pick-up or no garbage pick-up -- like anyone could tell the friggin' difference!
Let the whole damn country hear Al Johnson yelling "It's Carnival Time" and let them know we're not dead and if we are dying, we're going to pretend like we're not.
Fly the flag. Be in that number. This is our battle to win or lose. Hopefully, of one mind and one message. That we are still here. And that we are still New Orleans.