Ten reasons that I freaking love New Orleans, Part 7: Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras.  You've probably heard of it?  So here's my dirty confession: for the first nine years that I lived in New Orleans, I HATED it.  Like, with a passion.  Left town a few times just to get away from it.

What, are you crazy?! you may say.  Everyone loves Mardi Gras!  We spend tons of money to get there, and you're there and you LEAVE??  What gives?

What gives is that until my Katrina-induced forced sabbatical from Nola, I really hadn't figured out how to live here.  I think my lil brain really believed that if I was angry or indignant enough, the world would bend to my will.  (This is a condition that I do not think is uncommon to twenty-somethings.)  These stupid parades are in my way!, I'd think.  Why would anyone arrange something so obstructive?!  And loud and crowded and obnoxious?!?!  I would fling myself into the worst of the traffic and blockages trying to get home from work, cursing all the way and shaking my fists.  Nevermind that I didn't actually need to get home for anything, and if I'd just passed a few hours at the coffee shop across the street (as I did on most nights), everything would have cleared out without my tantrums.

Long story short, I was incapable of going with the flow.

In this department, my thirties are working out a good bit better than my twenties did.  I have learned that if you just accept situations for what they are, rather than fuming about what you think they should be, things get a lot easier.  You might even enjoy the things that you initially found so infuriating.  Lo and behold, during my NYC tenure, I actually began to miss Mardi Gras.

Last year, living uptown, I rode my bike up to Central City to watch the Zulu parade.  I got not one, but TWO coconuts.  I biked back and couldn't get across St. Charles, so I locked my bike up and walked.  I couldn't find my friends, so I watched Rex with the other people who had chosen to camp on the corner in front of Superior Seafood.  Not only was it fine, it was FUN.  It was in fact an amazing, unique kind of fun that really only happens in New Orleans.

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