Yes indeed. It has been an incredible few weeks for me. The highs and lows, and then the highs again.... I am on an emotional roller coaster. No better time for me to "recharge" my batteries than a trip back home to New Orleans and Mardi Gras. This is our first trip back to Mardi Gras since the Federal Flood. What makes this trip back so important is that it will be Devin's first Mardi Gras of significance in his life.
Devin was born in 2003. He celebrated his first Mardi Gras at the tender age of 11 weeks old.
Somewhere on Canal Street during the Muse's parade, he was given a pink scarf by the "Rolling Elvis'", a sub-krewe comprised of Elvis impersonators riding various types of bicycles that could only exist in New Orleans. That special throw still adorns his dresser-mirror to this day.
In 2005, at the age of 14 months, he celebrated his second Mardi Gras.
He marched with us in St. Anne, and it was a very special time for Susan and I to begin sharing this holiday with him.
And then came the Federal Flood....
We get home often. I am thankful for that. We are able to make it back at least three or four times a year, and we have been able to stay in touch with friends through our visits and through the blogosphere. And we've been able to treat Devin to New Orleans in a way that is special every trip.
But he hasn't "consciously" experienced a Mardi Gras yet. Not the way he should have all these years.
This year, he will sit on my shoulders and learn how to catch beads and yell "throw me something." He will learn how much fun it is to be part of Mardi Gras. He will march with us in St. Anne on Mardi Gras day. He will learn that his father is as much of a bead hound as the rest of them. He will learn, indeed, that his father is a great big kid and it all comes to life during Mardi Gras.
He will begin to learn that Mardi Gras is a family holiday. It is an important part of who we are as New Orleanians. He will begin to learn it is part of the culture I want him to fully embrace as he gets older. He will truly drink the water this year.
This will be our first Mardi Gras back since Katrina. It will now be an annual mecca back home.