In 1962 crooner and heartthrob Bobby Darin released “The Party’s Over” and although it was a success, it wasn’t until Texas legend Willie Nelson sang the lyrics, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over,” that it became a huge hit, a crossover song. The lyrics go on to state that once the masquerade is over, you have to pay the piper! For all the fast and furious Mardi Gras party on Fat Tuesday, the piper gets paid on Ash Wednesday when the hangovers and headaches take their toll on revelers. The little island paradise becomes a day of Hell.
The Krewe of Aquarius held their annual Barn Bash on the first Friday night of Mardi Gras. Like every year before, it was bigger, better and crazier. This event started many years ago when the Krewe gathered to make final preparations for the Saturday noon parade. More and more folks started coming along and before you know it evolved into a huge party with hundreds of revelers, beer, wine and drinks, food and lots of great music. The crowd danced into the night and everyone had a ball. Plan to attend next year. It will be the best $25 you will on Mardi Gras fun.
On Saturday, the noon parade was fantastic. Partiers lined the Sea Wall and down 25th Street to the Strand area. If you were lucky enough to attend a private house party at any one of the stately, old homes along 25th Street, you know exactly what “Let the Good Times Roll” means: lots of beer, beads, families, pets and more fun than being imagined.
At dark, the Krewe of Gambrinus pulled out the stops and filled the same route with more zaniness. Beads were flying so high that many landed in the large oaks along the round and some hung from power lines long after the parade was over.
There were other events and parades throughout the first weekend’s festivities, with lots of live music downtown in the official celebration area. The funky Umbrella Parade was as colorful and lively as ever, and as for transforming a golf cart into a work of art, it happened. Dozens of carts were decorated in every Mardi Gras motif imaginable, from simple to very elaborate.
The next big bunch of craziness was the Momus Night Parade on the second Saturday and of course, the biggest and craziest of all was the Fat Tuesday parade and celebration. When the big shindig came to end late Tuesday night, attendees returned home (some staggering) and prepared for the next day, guzzling lots of water, aspirin and other assorted “remedies” for such celebration.
With the sunrise on Ash Wednesday, everything changed. As you know, on this day, the faithful, the followers and the curious begin the forty-day period of Lent. Lent in the Judeo-Christian tradition (and others) is a period of contemplation and preparation for the coming Easter. This is the day that Catholics and others go to their places of worship and participate in a symbolic ritual reminding them that from ashes they came and to ashes they will return. Whether you are one of the faithful or not, all are welcome and it can become a powerful Post-Mardi Gras, pre-Easter tradition. No matter one’s beliefs or lack of, it is always good to examine your life, your conscience and try and clear some sh*t!
During the time of Lent, many folks “give-up” something. Traditionally it is “something” that by missing it daily or sacrificing, you are reminded of the season and, if you believe, of Christ’s Passion. These days, children give up candy or soft drinks. Older folks give up “older folks things” such as tobacco, drinking, sweets or other items that the shedding of, requires a boost. Lent is that boost.
To be real mature about it, it is a great time abolish anger, ill feelings, gossip and the myriad of things that plague the human existence. The alcohol thing alone can turn Galvetraz into a pretty boring place for 40 days and 40 nights. As the days pass, those not partaking of the “devil’s elixir” gradually sober up, get irritable and see the world for what it is! Few make the 40-day mark.
So if you are one of those, starting with good intentions however caving after a while, don’t beat yourself over the head. Remember, you are only ashes! Rumors Beach Bar, 23rd Street Piano Bar and good ol’ Robert’s Lafitte will be waiting with open arms to get you back on track…so to speak. Enjoy!