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Memories of Mardi Gras

This evening while researching the history of Mardi Gras my mind was flooded with memories of Mardi Gras. It felt as if I stepped back in time, I could clearly see flashes of each experience. Not only could I see myself at certain phases of my life, but it felt as if I could smell, feel and taste.

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I’m thinking it was the song, “It’s Carnival Time” that mentally morphed me to the early 80’s where I could see myself standing on the neutral ground with my Aunties and cousins. I had to be about six years old, well that’s the feeling in my heart. I felt small, quiet and excited as I looked from the neutral ground at all the people lined up on the street as I heard my Aunties singing along to the song, ” Yass, it’s Carnival Time and we are having fun!” They were snapping their fingers and for whatever reason the women in my family dance with their hips, feet barely move, but those hips certainly do..lol

Well honestly, I’ll tell you all what “We” my generation named what they were doing… We called it the Cat Dance and out of 7 sisters, 5 of them danced with gyrating hips/pelvic region, hands moving along, well in unison with their hips eventually making it down towards their pelvic region or outer hip and they would pat the area a few times. Imagine little kids looking on, we would crack up laughing behind their backs of course. When we were older we thought it was a mating call of sorts.

Before the parade made its way to our location, one of my aunts would open up what I thought was a fancy bag, because the inside was metallic silver, now I know it was an insulated bag, but it contained individually wrapped chili hot dogs and tamales wrapped in foil. I loved those warm soggy messy smashed up chili dogs. They were so good we used to sing the OSCAR MAYER song while eating them. I would never enjoy a chili dog after my childhood.

Now, the tamales I could always remember growing up n New Orleans my Mama use to get the best hot tamales from Manuel’s. He had a cart on the corner of Carrollton and Canal and like all New Orleans those tamales were beyond delicious. “New Orleans-Style Hot Tamales” might seem like a strange combination of words, especially if you are familiar with Mexican tamales. But, I assure you, there is such a thing as New Orleans Hot Tamales. Being a little kid foodie with a delicacy such as Manuel’s Tamales wouldn’t come easy, especially with all my cousins being around, but thankfully my fave auntie would always find away for me to get one without my cousins seeing. I’m not sure if one of the other aunties or my cousins would have been the maddest, because we all loved them, but there was never enough for all of us, but hey I got one and I would lick the tamale wrapping too lol

Another food memory I had been my love affair with Candied Apples, the hard, shiny, break your teeth red candied apples, I love em. I’m not sure why I’m so coocoo for one of the simplest treats one can make. A candied apple consist of an apple of course, the outer part is nothing but sugar, corn syrup and water and I love em. I have walked a mile+ for a candied apple and would buy and eat 3 of them back to back. They are healthy for you, maybe not your teeth at that 1st bite, but after that bite you are good to go lol. During Mardi Gras you can find vendors pushing grocery carts filled with candied apples, typically selling at $3 each or 3 for $5. Yasss I know who, what, when and where for candied apples. There’s a food truck that sits on Rampart and Canal that sells them as well. But if I was you I would buy from the guy pushing the basket, because they make they purchase the apples from a larger vendor profiting only a $1.

After my flashes of childhood Mardi Gras memories, I was reminded of one of my worse Mardi Gras ever. I was an excited 15 year old with a cute boyfriend and I knew the months of talking on the phone, sitting on porches and sneaking into his house when his dad was at work would pay off at Mardi Gras. I just knew I would be in the Couple’s Twinezz Club. I had what we would wear embedded in my mind since we met during Christmas Break, but I would be in the “Broken Heart Club” and the worse part about it was I had to suck up the pain…

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

It was 1988 and I was visiting my cousin who lived in the 8th Ward of New Orleans during our almost 3 week winter break. It was a pretty warm winter as I’m remembering always being outside and walking to the park or store. One day I was sent to the store alone and I decided to walk up Elysian Fields after an incident of being followed by a man some weeks prior. It wasn’t safe for a lone teen girl to walk down any street where there wasn’t any traffic.

As I walked up the street, I noticed two boys sitting on their porch. My first thought was to cross the street, unknowing what type of attention I would stir up from these strange boys, but it was too late. “Hey, do you play ball at Colton?” came out of the lips of the cutest curly head brown-skinned teenage boy as the younger dark-skinned one just smiled with pearly white straight teeth. I didn’t like basketball, but it liked me and it gave me center stage to be seen by all the cute boy’s. That’s all it took to start-up our new-found friendship and from that day forward we were nearly inseparable or always on the phone.

I would find out that his name was Jamal, 16 years old and his younger brother Derrick, 13 years old, were here from California to live with their Dad for the school year, both attended St.Augustine. His Dad worked in a factory as well as played in a band, he was always gone, which left the teen boys unattended for the most part. Looking back, I wish I would have cross the street to avoid the heartache of promiscuity, but hey I learned a lesson, well it took years after that for me to get it.

My cousin and I would go over to their house unbeknownst to my auntie, who thought we where playing ball somewhere. Most of the time we would listen to music outside on the porch or go for walks. We didn’t take advantage of not having an adult in the home for some time, but I would eventually get invited into his loft/attic makeshift bedroom. It looked as if the bed took up the whole area and the head of the bed laid right under the window, which was kinda cool then. He told me how he would have people jumping into the street after screaming “Get off my property” in an eerie tone.

He got me up to his attic room with of all things some damn food; a PoBoy, pecan candy, packs Now Later’s and a Pineapple Big Shot. Let me stop ,he invited me upstairs, because it started to rain as we walked back from the store and the video were on BET at the time, but I know he arranged it now. My cousin wasn’t with me this time and it felt like a lil date back then. So, there I was following his lead as he pulled down the attic steps that lead to his room.

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

Ready For The World, an all boys/men R&B Group came out with the hit “Tonight” and actually Jamal looked as if he could pass for a member, especially after I found out his curls were from products of “Care Free Curls.” Well, that song would be the prelude to me letting Jamal, “Love Me Down” and I really wish I knew what we were doing, well what I was doing, because it’s a blank. This would be my second time having sex with a boy, so I just laid there and then got up. I remember him putting on a condom, a sloppy kiss and us jumping up when we heard his brother yell, “Dad’s on his way home!” Maybe we didn’t do it??? I do not know or maybe I blocked out the event, because of the trauma that followed.

My new relationship took back stage to the rest of my life, plus I lived Uptown and had to catch the city bus to and from school, didn’t have time to sneek him in my schedule. I tried though. On the days I could stay after school, I was busy being forced to use my height on the basketball court or practice. My Mama made things worse by hiding the telephone from me and talked mostly on the weekends. I was so happy when Mardi Gras season came, it meant I could go by my cousin’s house and see Jamal.

The day didn’t go by fast enough, my Mama gave me permission to go to my cousin’s after the school to stay through Mardi Gras. I was so excited, sitting on the steps waiting for my cousin to come home from school, so we could make plans for my stay. My auntie wasn’t home yet, which meant we would have run of the house or not even be in the house. I spoke to Jamal the day prior, he didn’t sound too excited, but I blew it off as “Boys.” I was happy to see my cousin and Jamal walk up at the same time, searching their faces for a mirroring reflection, but there was none. My cousin greeted me with, “Jamal and me need to talk to you.” I’m 15 years old and this was my first “We need to talk to you” experience, and I honestly thought we were going to talk about what we were wearing for Mardi Gras. I wasn’t prepared for what I was told and how professional it went down, but my cousin had here mind-set to be an attorney at a young age.

As we entered the French double doors, my lips were a flame with the stripped Mardi Gras Polo’s I saw at Maison Blanche and Adidas tennis shoes. “I can’t wait til Mardi Gras, my Daddy said, we would go shopping for my tennis shoes and give me money to go buy me a polo, what about yall? We don’t have to match completely, but long as Me and Jamal have the same shirts at least.” I said that along with a million other things. My voice seemed to echo through the house. Before I can make it to put my backpack away, I noticed that Jamal was standing in the livingroom as well, we never ever had anyone in my auntie’s house, so when he sat, I sat. My auntie had these fancy wingback suede chairs that sat along each side of the wall that divided the livingroom from the bedroom, I found myself sitting and sitting silently. Jamal and my cousin were sitting on the plastic covered sofa that none of us ever sat on either. All I could think was, we needed to hurry the hell up outta this house, before my auntie comes home or there will be NO Mardi Gras for us.

I’m not sure when they grabbed hands and went into the “You tell her, No You tell her” monologue, but my cousin finally said, “Me and Jamal are boyfriend and girlfriend.” All I could do was sit there, silently, no tears, no words, no cussing, no movement, I just sat. I sat so long they left me in the house. I never let either know that my heart was broken into a million pieces. I never let my cousin know that she was my cousin and best friend and I didn’t understand how she did that to me. I never asked her how she can do that after she not only saw us kiss, but I told her about the “Ready for the world Song.” Maybe. If I would have told her something then, we wouldn’t have repeated issues like this over the years.

However, I did say I was not going to Mardi Gras with them and that led to another talk. This time with my auntie who was clueless to our situation and I wasn’t the type to tell. Well what would I have said?? “I’m hurt, I’m broken-hearted,because she stole my boyfriend, that I had sex with while his Daddy wasn’t home in an attic space???” I would have had my azz beaten, I was told that “WE” were going to the parade together or no parades at all not even for Mardi Gras, including the other kids, like my little sister.

I’m always the martyr, so off we went to the parade.We walked to the Canal St. to catch the Endymion parade, the four of us, me, my cousin, Jamal and his little brother. I wanted so bad to lose them, but I couldn’t in fear off catching a whipping, so I would lag behind them a block or more. When we made it to our spot, the deal was if we get separated we would meet at a certain spot, meet up and return home.

I was finally able to release my emotions among the excited massive crowd of parade goers as the parade rolled against the evening skies. No one was concerned about the floods of tears pouring down my chocolate cheeks onto to New Orleans pavement. They nor I cared to budge when beads whipped across my face.. I stood in that one spot and just cried through the whole parade and didn’t dropped a tear afterwards. Honestly, it felt good and the beads hitting me in the face made an excuse for my swollen eyes.

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I’m happy that moment in life didn’t harden me, didn’t take the joy and anticipation out of not only Mardi Gras, but my relationships with my family, friends and men. I have yet to be dressed as “Mardi Gras Twinezz” with a man, although I have celebrated and enjoyed a couple of Mardi Gras with a date.

Life and love goes on and as y’all know we live by “Laissez les bons temps rouler” here in New Orleans. Now, let me get my Mardi Gras started, so I create more memories, but the new ones will be full of love, fun, excitement, and a few daiquiris!!!

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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