Annette Gross

Rose on Mardi Gras - Get GLAD

Filed By Annette Gross | February 25, 2006 12:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment

From another friend.

Find your own beat and march yourself on out there this Mardi Gras
Friday, February 24, 2006
By Chris Rose

It's Mardi Gras. First thing you do, if you go to a parade: Hug the cop on the corner.

I recommend you alert the officer as to your intentions first, but then show the love. He or she is likely tired, fed up and underpaid and has a very good chance of being evicted from his or her temporary home on Ash Wednesday.
Graceful timing by FEMA, no question about it.

It's strange how the whole New Orleans paradigm has shifted.

I don't think it could be illustrated any more starkly than by the fact that most city dwellers actually want meter maids and tow trucks to return.

A world upside down.

Another shift in philosophy attends to the corporate sponsorship of Jazzfest and Mardi Gras. We have fought this concept loud and clear for years but we are now willing to admit: We need help. We need money.

Jazzfest by Shell? Bring it on. And thank you, Shell.

Which brings me to this: I'm a little surprised that we didn't get more sponsors lined up for Carnival. It would have seemed a great opportunity for some multinational corporate giant to both accomplish a terrific gesture of community support and get a heck of a lot of good press.

I don't suppose the Shaw Group -- headquartered in Baton Rouge -- ever really considered it, what with their marginal profit lines on this deal; I'm sure those two $100 million no-bid contracts are stretched pretty thin by now by all those workers draining the trough at $15 an hour.

But we should applaud the Glad trash bag company for stepping up with a supporting sponsorship grant of six figures. So appropriate, a trash company.

I remember when the city used to measure the success of Mardi Gras by how much garbage was collected in the streets; that was before a modicum of civic pride suggested that we shouldn't calculate our city's standing by how much we litter.

I've said this before, but if Katrina and her aftermath were measured by those same terms, she would certainly be the most successful hurricane in history.

But back to Glad. I'm thinking we missed a golden opportunity here by not reaching out to another possible sponsor -- the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Do you realize that if we could say "Mardi Gras is brought to you by Glad and GLAAD," we could have taken great steps to ensure both the cleanest and best costumed Carnival of all time?

Was that funny?

That was supposed to be funny.

Maybe that's not funny. I don't know.

Fun and frivolity are at a premium this season. A friend of mine in New York City who followed national newspaper and television coverage of the first weekend of parades and general festivity pronounced it: "Sad but valiant."
Indeed. The weather sucked; that didn't help. We're trying; give us that. The alternative, I guess, would be to tell the children of New Orleans: Hey kids, Mardi Gras is canceled this year because the adults are really, really depressed.

But I think we can blow it out this weekend. Let it fly. Hell, I don't drink anymore but I'm planning on knocking back at least a 12-pack of O'Douls on Tuesday.

Maybe they should have thought about stepping into the sponsorship breach. Can you see it: "O'Doul's: The Official Drink of Mardi Gras."

Now that, people, is comedy.

When the floats go by and you look into the eyes of the masked riders, realize that there is a really good chance that the people throwing you baubles and beads lost their homes or their jobs this fall.

But they're doing Mardi Gras -- and life -- on their terms. They want to do this. Riding in a parade with the same group of folks they've been riding with for years latches on to the very thing they love most about this place.

It's a way to reclaim who we are.

Time and Mardi Gras march on. We dance to the beat of a different drummer, as always. We celebrate ourselves.

Mardi Gras now. New Orleans forever.

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