Explaining Mardi Gras To An Alabama Fan [Opinion]
The Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team is in town for a weekend series with our Ragin’ Cajuns. Friday night the Cajuns bested the Tide by a score of 2-0. I was very pleased to see that at least one school in the SEC. isn’t afraid to come play the our team in our park for a weekend series. Up until now, no other SEC team has had the coconuts to step on to the turf at The Tigue for three game set.
What a great time for ‘Bama fans to be in our town and in our part of the country. It’s Mardi Gras! For those of us that live along the bayou it’s a very special time of the year but it’s kind of hard to explain because there really isn’t a logical explanation.
Jimmy Buffett has a song called Creola. In that song are these lyrics about life along the bayou, “It’s in the mood, it’s in the blood It’s in the food, it’s in the mud, It’s a spicy kind of life”. I used that lyric to help explain Mardi Gras to an Alabama fan I met at the gas station Friday afternoon. He asked a legitimate question ” What is the big deal about catching beads”? If all you know about Mardi Gras is catching beads then I can understand why you don’t get it.
Mardi Gras is a feeling. It’s a connection with the past. It is a celebration of who we were, who we are and what we hope our future to be. Mardi Gras isn’t about a parade or beads or balls or finding a bathroom. It is more about renewing and remembering our very unique heritage.
Sure there are fancy definitions of what Mardi Gras is and why it is and how it came to be. But those dictionary definitions are not why we line parade routes and set up in the same spot year after year after year. Mr. Webster probably never tasted breakfast cooked on a grill beside Johnston Street. Those definitions of Mardi Gras are only attempts to capture what can only be experienced and felt by participating.
To my new friend from the fair city of Gordo Alabama I hope you will find yourself along the parade route at some time during your stay here in town. You can wear your Alabama gear if you want too. You’ll find that everybody is welcome at Mardi Gras. I hope you will watch the people. Look at the faces of the families, the children, the grandmother’s and know that beyond the barricades a culture is parading before you. This is our life. This is our style and you are welcome to be a part of it and I hope you will. Drink a beer, catch some beads, laugh out loud and be in the moment. It’s a moment you can’t capture anywhere but here.