Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Les Bon Temps

Today is Fat Tuesday; it's cold and grey and stormy outside; and I am really missing Louisiana. Lake Charles doesn't have the kind of insanity that goes down in New Orleans, but their version of Mardi Gras is seriously cool.

If I were there, I would be heading out to find a good spot for the first parade. Before Rita, that would have been in the space between the drive-through daiquiri stand and the corner. I don't know if they replaced that stand, but I hope so -- it surely was handy. Especially since we only lived a few blocks from the main parade route, so it was easy to get there on foot. It would have been a pain to have to carry an ice chest too.

But I digress; assuming the existence of the daiquiri stand, that's where I'd be going -- along with DH and a couple of lawn chairs (hey; you have to work for those throws; you need a place to rest between one parade and the next).

The Merchant's Parade was last Friday; that one is good for bizarre throws like little plastic hard hats with fleurs des lis and the names of oil companies on them. Today, however, will be the best for sheer delight because most people have the day off from work or school (most businesses and schools are closed), so nearly EVERYONE turns out for the Fat Tuesday parades.

I was totally stunned by my first Mardi Gras in Lake Charles because it's not a huge town and it's not famous, so I assumed it would be some chintzy little small-town thing with 5 or 6 floats. I couldn't have been more wrong though; there were hundreds of floats and thousands of people and Fat Tuesday culminates in an amazing street party. And the nicest thing of all is that after a while, you end up knowing quite a few of the people on the floats; some from the neighborhood; some from work; and some who just seem familiar.

You get throws by smiling, waving, jumping up and down, and occasionally shouting the traditional call, "Throw me something mister!" In other words, you do not have to flash. That, alone, makes Lake Charles Mardi Gras the world's best, in my opinion, because I'm too much of a prude to flash for beads and cheap plastic cups. Now a tee-shirt might be a different story...

Ah well, no tee-shirts or even beads this year, so I'll have to make do with ones I've saved from past years. I keep a cup of them on my desk, so to celebrate, I took a photo of them this morning. In a year or two, I'm certain I will be able to replenish them, but in the meantime,

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

1 comment:

Tess said...

Bien sûr!!

We're having pancakes and sausage for dinner tonight :-)