Dateline – 7 am – Uptown New Orleans. I go outside to get the paper and get a feel for the temperature and I hear cop car sirens, then jazz music. I look over 20 yards to Laurel Street where a rag tag assemblage of people are parading by. There are 5, maybe 6, onlookers (it’s too early to attempt to stand up if you’ve been drinking all night) waving at the parade.
I turn to my neighbor and say "I didn’t know that there were any parades this far Uptown on Mardi Gras Day." She responds "Yeah, it’s the ‘Buzzards parade.’ They always started out at Graffanino’s bar on the corner of Calhoun and Laurel. "But that’s a house now, not a bar," I point out.
"Well," she sighs, "it’s an important tradition for them so that’s where they start." As I walk away it dawns on me that Mardi Gras is something that affects the primitive regions of the brain. So, like birds that are impelled by unseen forces, Mardi Gras impels us to follow our own primitive migratory patterns. But we, of course, are more advanced than migratory animals in that we carry plastic cups filled with bloody mary mix.
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I march each year with a group called Mondo Kayo. I posted some photos and a story on my blog about how we start out early in the a.m., too. That’s part of the fun!