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MARDI GRAS: OUR REAL NEW YEAR’S DAY
We may not get much of a winter in Louisiana, but there’s still a sense of a thaw this time of year. From New Year’s to mid-February, it’s like the whole countryside is holding its breath. Football has come to a close, spring baseball has yet to begin, and the crawfish are a bit on the small side. Maybe it’s this momentary pause that makes Mardi Gras such a release. In this state, at least, the new year doesn’t really start until that debaucherous carnival. From the elaborate floats, vibrant costumes, cheering crowds, and delicious Cajun cooking, there couldn’t be a better way to welcome in the springtime. There is truly nothing else like it. “IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THESE TRADITIONS ALMOST CEASED TO EXIST … THANKFULLY, COURIR DE MARDI GRAS PROVED AS RESILIENT AS THE FOLKS WHO CELEBRATE IT.” It’s hard to believe these traditions almost ceased to exist. While the greatest generation was off winning World War II, there weren’t a lot of young people to keep the spirit of Mardi Gras alive. Courir de Mardi Gras was hit especially hard. So many of our men had left to fight in distant lands, and our women had to fill the factories and munition plants to keep them fighting. Fields went fallow, and for those who were left, there didn’t seem like much reason for revelry.
Thankfully, Courir de Mardi Gras proved as resilient as the folks who celebrate it. The post-war years saw a Cajun renaissance, as families picked up and revitalized the traditions of their forefathers. They
came back to the small towns, the pastures, and the marshes.
They passed the pigskin, played ball, and boiled crawdads. But, perhaps most importantly, they brought new life to Mardi Gras. Now the holiday is more jubilant than ever.
Of course, it’s always best to celebrate responsibly. Here’s our free legal advice of the month: Leave poor decisions and indecent exposure charges to the tourists. The last place you want to spend Mardi Gras is in a cell. Of course, if you are injured by someone else’s negligence, you know who to call. Disclaimers aside, have a great time, whether you prefer to make your way down to Bourbon Street or watch the mummers romp through the countryside. There is a rhythm to life here in Louisiana. It’s found less in the weather, and more in the lives of the people and their traditions. Mardi Gras is a celebration of this, of the things that make us who we are. We hope this new year finds you jubilant and bright.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
–Cra ig Jon e s
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