Greetings from the heart of New Orleans a.k.a The Big Easy.
Larry and I arrived on Friday night to spend Mardi Gras with our friends Bob and Adrian who moved from The French Quarter just after Katrina and now have a condo on St. Charles Avenue, right on the parade route of many of the krewes including the biggies, Bacchus, Endymion, Rex, Zulu and the krewe started by New Orlean's native son, Harry Connick, Jr.
It's been a lot of fun watching the parades and I've caught mucho, mucho beads and mugs and trinkets, as well as having also a few celebs including James Gandolfini who plays Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, some pop band called Styx whom I'd never heard of until Saturday night when they passed by on a float, and American Idol's most recent product, Taylor Hicks. In fact, Taylor threw down a particularly attractive set of beads as he passed by, which I caught. They're definite keepers, though not because they came from the hands of Mr. Hicks.
Last night after the Bacchus parade, we went to friends Bob and Jan who preparad a most delicious New Orleans drink called Saccaran's (I think that's the spelling) which consisted of a blend of whiskey, Pernod, bitters and a bit of sugar.
More parades are scheduled tonight and all festivities culminate tomorrow which is Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday) in the last two events from the krewes known as Zulu and Rex. In the old days when the Catholic Church ruled supreme, these two parades ended all partying as Lent began. But nowadays, people head for the French Quarter for more revelry and fun, which is exactly what we'll be doing.
Bob (Jan's husband) is taking us on a tour of the devastated areas THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN REPAIRED--a huge scandal in itself in my opinion--on Wednesday, which will be very sobering. I'll take some photos ande post them at some point on my return to Pennsylvania.