I would really only quibble with the title of this post. More like "not quite the Gras-est of Mardis" - but I get the point.
So many things about Mardi Gras this year are back to some form of "normal" for Carnival celebrations. Crowds in our neighborhood have not been as insane as in the past three years. Traffic is still something to be avoided and to plan for accordingly - though we didn't account for one of the slowest cleanup crews ever following Thoth when we were trying to get home from our pal Pacrac's party near the beginning of the parade route. About the only anomaly we've encountered this year was a nice lady who set up the perfect parade spot for her family right next to us, not far from our home on the gray brick road. She'd schlepped all the way from New Orleans East on Saturday, set up a tarp and lots of chairs for her extended family, shooed people out of our faces during the Iris and Tucks parades while decrying the lack of civility and respect for those who'd been there the whole day with a spot...and then Dan saw the table being unfolded and the home-cooked food being laid out and commented on her great setup.
"Yeah, we'll be ready when Endymion gets here," she said.
Endymion switched back to their Mid-City parade route last Mardi Gras season, taking their insane territorial neutral-ground camping hordes with 'em. Dan had to break the news to this poor, thoroughly prepared lady that she had prepared for every eventuality except for the one that didn't even have her in the right place to enjoy Endymion as it passed. I hope she found a better spot.
The problem with Mardi Gras this year is it just doesn't seem as pregnant with promise as it has been since 8-29...and perhaps it might be attributed to this season entering a certain toddlerhood since that time. It seemed the parades were indicative of a city coming back with a vengeance and a rapier wit, something that was especially highlighted in the more satirical krewes' themes, which were retooled for the insanity that was the early days of return and supposed renewal. About the only thing that can be said of Mardi Gras this year is that it has bounced back much faster than the rest of the city has...and this is not to say we don't still love the celebrations around here, or the pageantry, or the loot, for crying out loud. It's just that Carnival is now running at a triathlon's pace, while the city itself is still learning how to crawl, and doing it badly. And I myself am feeling it more this year than ever before.
Tomorrow is Mardi Gras day. We will most certainly eat, drink, and be merry, doing the pancake-flipping thing here at chez Liprap.
...but we will still be mindful, the day after, of the work yet to be done.
Happy Mardi Gras!