The days following the end of Carnival season in New Orleans find us feeling somewhat lethargic. After weeks of enjoying endless street parades, balls, and king cakes, residents of our city wake up on the day after Mardi Gras a bit dazed, if not confused.
Here in south Louisiana, February and March are transitional months. Winter into spring, Carnival into Lent, Popeyes fried chicken into crawfish and Friday fish dinners. Like the cruise ships on the river that passes through our city, sailing to the Gulf of Mexico and ports of call in the Caribbean, we go with the flow.
The kings and jesters of Mardi Gras shower the streets of our city with beads and other trinkets, filling our hearts with joy and satisfaction as we catch treasure after treasure. The day after the last parade, though, we look around our homes and wonder what to do with all the loot. Recycle it, store it in the attic, throw it in the trash. Maybe keep some of it on display to admire year-round.
Stepping outside on the morning after Mardi Gras, one senses a change in the atmosphere. Typically, tree pollen coats everything in sight, and buds, sometimes blossoms, are on the azaleas and hawthorne bushes. The sunshine feels intense and hot, more like summer than winter, certainly. Rain falls on this day some years, but does not bring the chill of winter with it.
After Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it is springtime. How wonderful to live in a city where the most anticipated and fun event of the year leads into the most comfortable, pleasant season of the year.