In most of the world, folks are just now recovering from the holidays. PHEW, you think, done with all of the hubbub and parties and gifts and commitments and places to be…
In South Louisiana, we make our holidays last a LOT longer. Tuesday, February 12 is Mardi Gras. Now, the whole season from Epiphany (January 6) until Ash Wednesday is the Mardi Gras Season. I think that folks from areas other than South Louisiana have a perception about Mardi Gras that it is rowdy, wild, and not-safe-for-children.
There are certainly instances where things get rowdy, wild, and not-safe-for-children, but there is a whole other side to Mardi Gras, a gorgeous, decadent side, steeped in tradition and elegance, edged with family-friendly fun, that I want to tell you about.
First, there are balls. Mardi Gras balls are unique and wonderful. If you haven’t been to one, you really should, and there happen to be several coming up here at the Harbor Center, including one that is open to the public (call us for ticket information!). You will experience the grandeur and glory of being in the company of royalty, with a formal tableau presenting the court followed by a glamorous evening of fine dining, dancing, and mingling with the community’s elite. Mardi Gras Balls are sumptuous affairs, the most beautiful spectacles of the year, and everybody should experience such a thing at least once. This is the only time in the USA where you can dine in the company of a King and Queen!
In addition, we have the parades. Now, you may have seen Mardi Gras parades on television that show out-of-control antics and, perhaps, more skin than you are used to seeing, but… the truth is? Try one for yourself. Especially here on the Northshore, the parades are targeted at kids and families, and you do NOT have to “earn” your beads. We spend our weekends in this season setting up at our “spot” – we all have our own place that we flock to, parade after parade, year after year – greeting our friends that we haven’t seen in a bit. Our kids vie for the best “throws,” usually coming home with bags full of beads, feathered bamboo tomahawks, toys and stuffed animals. The adults replenish their cup collections and laugh and visit with the folks nearby. Somehow, it always seems to be beautiful outside on parade days, warm and sunny.
And last, but not least, we have King Cake. Our staff has a weakness for King Cake! For you non-Louisianans, King Cake is an almost bread-like dough, braided, filled (we like the pecan filling the best, but there are tons of other options), and baked, then topped with icing and purple, green, and gold sugar. Think of the best coffee cake you ever had, then imagine it being thirty times more delicious. That’s King Cake!
Ah, Mardi Gras. At the Harbor Center, we are delighted to host the balls of five different Krewes, spending our early spring weekends in the company of royalty. Come and see for yourself! And laissez les bons temps rouler!