Feb 11

Now that headline would mean something else back in Northern Ireland. But here in New Orleans, it’s a good time of year.

Back home the “marching season (as it’s usually referred to)” applies to the summer. From late June until August there are parades by the Orange Order around the province, and it’s a contentious time of year. Violence often flares and there are flash-points at interfaces between rioters of both religions intent on fighting one another.

Here in Louisiana though, parades bring less trouble and a lot more fun. It’s the start of Mardi Gras – well, officially it’s the beginning of Carnival as the term we translate as “Fat Tuesday” refers to one day strictly speaking – and a time of rejoicing and partying and drinking. Lots and lots of drinking.

This will be the first time in 15 years that I don’t live only a couple of blocks away from the main parade route. I think it will be strange, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I enjoy the atmosphere and always have a great time on the footpath / sidewalk watching the floats and the dancers and the bands, but I’ve seen hundreds of processions. I guess if I never see another it’s hardly a disaster.

I know enough locals who live close by that I’ll be able to nip back for a bathroom break if I need it I’m sure. And maybe not always needing to leave the key in the mailbox will be a good thing, right? Relieve the pressure on me to always be the host or something?

I’ll let you all know how it goes next month. If I get a chance, what with the St Patrick’s Day parade and all…

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