For the past ten days, we have experienced a period of revelry and fellowship known as Mardi Gras. We paid homage to Kings and Queens, we screamed and begged for necklaces, and we wore clothing that is confusing to most of the world. We also saw children playing football, we shared food with total strangers, and we danced to the sound of marching bands. And this experience is called Mardi Gras. But what is Mardi Gras?
Well, we all know it's make believe. There are no real Kings and Queens; the diamonds they wear are all rhinestones, and the jewelry we screamed and begged for is made of plastic. But what about those families sitting together with the kids playing football? Looked pretty real to me. And the jambalaya from a family I had never met before that fed me in between parades on St. Charles Ave.? Tasted real to me. Those costumes that float riders wore as well as the creativity of those who made their own attire was pretty real as well.
So is Mardi Gras real or not? Well, the unreal part of it yields a very real reaction of people of all races, religions, and ethnic groups getting together without incident to enjoy the spirit only we in New Orleans know how to share. Perhaps every candidate for the President of our country should be forced to sit on St. Charles Ave. for a week and a half to realize how real our Mardi Gras is.
There is no black or white - only purple, green, and gold. There is no "far left" or "far right" - only sidewalk side and neutral ground side. And there is no Democratic or Republican Party, just day time parties and night time parties. I only hope that the rest of this country will appreciate our loyalty to this make believe holiday we call Mardi Gras. But furthermore, I pray that they will see through the rhinestones and plastic beads to realize how real it is to live in peace with one another.
The official song of Margi Gras is "If Ever I Cease To Love." The words are strange, but the message is clear - in our community, we will "Never Cease To Love." To all other communities please take note of the very real side of Mardi Gras that should be a model and message to everyone!