Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mardi Gras, Here We Come

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.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

FINISH STRONG!!!

This is a great day on so many fronts. First, the Saints are in the Super Bowl. This is more than just a game for us New Orleanian’s—the team is part of our culture, and we are so intertwined with the team that we are all there in spirit with the team. They win for us, but they win with us. They are us in many ways, and what I like is that so many of the players and coaches fully understand it. There will be a great parade in New Orleans on Tuesday, and more than that—there will be a great party in the streets of New Orleans tonight.

The other thing is that Mitch Landrieu was elected Mayor of New Orleans last night. There is lots of pressure on him to undo all the bad things Nagin did over the past four years, but I am confident he can put New Orleans on track to being a fully-rebuilt city. I am with Mitch for this process.

This is a great day for New Orleans.

Now—GEAUX SAINTS—FINISH STRONG!!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The New Economic Reality of the US

A disturbing but realistic forecast for America's future. The New York Times published an article that states, in part, that:

"Unless miraculous growth, or miraculous political compromises, creates some unforeseen change over the next decade, there is virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors. Beyond that lies the possibility that the United States could begin to suffer the same disease that has afflicted Japan over the past decade. As debt grew more rapidly than income, that country’s influence around the world eroded."

I am hoping that this economic crisis will bring the non-partisan minds in Congress together to do some difficult but necessary things to our economy to help reduce the damage of this forecast. But I'm not holding my breath....

Monday, February 01, 2010

Life Returns to Normal

Once again, I wanted to say how much I appreciate all the kind words from the readers here—they have consoled me in a way you can’t imagine. Thank you very very much.

My mother passed away yesterday evening at 7pm my time. I was boarding a plane on the final leg of my trip back home when my sister called me. She was there when mom breathed her final breath. For my sister, it was a surreal experience. I am sure she will remember that special moment for the rest of her life.

My sister and I have grown closer during this last week together. We plan to see each other more, and for this I can once again thank my mother for bringing Patty and I together.

Now, it is time for me to return to the “real world.” I enjoyed being with Devin, Caitlin and Susan last night. It was nice to kiss their cheeks and feel their hugs. When it comes down to it, all we really have is family. I have a great family. For this, I am truly thankful.

I have a busy week ahead, even though I kept up with as much work as possible during the last week. We’ve got to plan for our Super Saints Super Bowl party on Sunday, and I’ve got to get to the thrift stores to find me a dress ;) I’ve been through a very reflective and somewhat sad personal week—I really need the normality of work and the “high” of the Saints and New Orleans to bring me back.

I can’t wait for this weekend—I’ve got a real good feeling about the game.