Today is both Mardi Gras and Super Tuesday. Sounds auspicious to us. May the best candidates win, and may the public have some good news to celebrate. Drink up. Tomorrow it’s all ashes.
From The Isle of Orleans:
The Krewe Perdu and the Skeleton Krewe were scheduled to roll in a combined parade soon after sundown. Everyone in town would be there—parents and children, the shopkeepers and gardeners, carriage drivers, vendors from the French Market, the priest and the cremator, the morbids and junk-eating vagabonds from the ragged edges of town, and all but a bare-bones staff from the restaurants and bars.
Shortly after sundown the Krewe Perdu parade rolled in a boisterous cacophony through the Quarter from Esplanade down Chartres Street across Jackson Square and on to Canal Street. Each float was about fifteen feet long, a flatbed trailer pulled by some of the same horses and mules that pulled the taxi carriages by day, and up amid the papier-mâché tableaux of flood scenes, collapsing classical temples, and floating houses the krewe members were throwing candy and doubloons and de-thorned roses down to the crowds, who yelled excitedly, “Throw me something, Mister!” and “Gimme summa dat.” The crowd surged back and forth, walking along with the floats, some drifting back to see what was coming next in the parade, others circling around from the end of the line to the front to catch the whole show over again.
Until he saw the multitudes swelling around the Carnival procession—nearly double the crowd that had come to hear the mayor that morning—Graves had had no idea how many people were still living in New Orleans. There had to be a thousand, maybe two. It seemed everyone still living in the city had come together tonight for this parade, dressed as dukes and contessas, Romans in bed-sheet togas, costuming as flower pots, drowned corpses, houses torn in half . . .
Then came the float titled Poseidon the Destroyer, a large blue-and-purple tableau of a white-bearded sea god with fierce glaring eyes and a terrible triton of doom poised to strike a tiny walled city. As the float passed, Graves saw a familiar figure across the street in a glittering aqua gown, a wet glistening mermaid or a splash of water from Poseidon’s float. “Gillian, you gorgeous sea nymph, you.”