They're all blending together. Beads, booze, and screams create a seamless transition from one event to the next. It's like the city is bleeding, oozing this chaotic stuff. And yet, New Orleans, you haven't impressed me yet. I'm winning this bet so far.
Two nights ago we were standing on another parade route on St. Charles Ave. Members of the crowd wore costumes; bright blue, green, and red wigs; held beer and wine; and became increasingly more decadent as the night went on.
A friend of mine, the Rock, lost her i-phone in the madness. This set off a Futile search among the Carnival debris. (How do they ever Clean this place?) Assuming that the device, if on the ground, was hopelessly smashed, I thought the best bet was to ask if anyone had picked it up.
I approached a couple. The young woman wore a cotton candy blue wig and seemed to be drowning in gaudy plastic necklaces. The young man wore a wife beater and jeans. They appeared to be arguing, but being drunk and still somewhat in a festive mood I decided to give it a gamble. "Excuse me," I said, "I know this is ridiculous, but have you seen an i-phone?"
No one has ever given me look of more intense disbelieving disgust. "Are you serious?" the young woman said, "Are you from here?"
"I'll take that as a 'no'." I said and started to turn.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" she said, stopping me. "Look around you! You think this is a motherfucking game? Give it up, man. Let it go. It's Mardi Gras. Just let it go!"
She then turned to the young man. "And as for you..."
I disappeared as quickly as I could back into the crowd.
Okay, fair. An i-phone is a lost cause on a parade route. She could have at least recommended St. Jude.
But, I like to believe that if I had asked her for anything, she would have given the same answer. Have you seen a man wearing a Cat in the Hat hat? Have you seen my wife? Excuse me, I know this is hopeless, but have you come across a blue, Colonial style house, maybe sitting in the middle of the street?
It's Mardi Gras. Just let it go.