(Mardi Gras Sunday, February 15th)

We had a epic “Sunday Gras”: the Thoth parade going past our house was three hours of outrageousness. My kind of parade watching: sit on the sidewalk outside your home in a comfortable chair with easy access to good drinks and good food, surrounded by good people.

Afterwards we went to Melanie’s for the night parades, but ended up hanging out at her house: terrific food as always (her mac & cheese, spicy cole slaw, BBQ chicken, BBQ beans, fruit salad, some sort of atomic cocktails).

But the real treat was a surprise visit by a marching krewe of about thirty or so that came up Euterpe Street to Melanie’s house just about the time we arrived. Dressed like day of the dead figures, calling themselves “Skin & Bones”, if you closed your eyes you’d swear you were hearing a Mardi Gras Indian tribe. But unlike the traditional Indian groups, this krewe was all women, mixed race, led Claudia, the founder and by black Queen/Chief, Kim. Melanie welcomed them into her house, fed them, and was was designated an honorary Queen of the krewe.

At one point I counted 29 of us in Melanie’s kitchen, all singing together in four and five part harmony at the top of our lungs.

The day was a reminder of how the city will inhale a long tradition, mix it together with whatever new influences are boiling with energy, and then spit it out again, transformed into something completely New Orleans.

Just one of those sometimes moments during Mardi Gras, when the insanity seems the sanest thing on the planet, when you’re sure that at this particular point in time the stars are aligned and your life is in perfect focus.