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Jan 14, 201409:43 AM
The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

Why I Love New Orleans in January and February

There's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months.

So now that all my hopes and dreams for the 2013-2014 football season are over, I wonder what I have to look forward to. The holidays are over, Florida State won the National Championship (yuck), the Saints are not going to the Super Bowl, and my non-insulated shotgun house is so damn cold, you guys. There are no more end-of-year sales, only discounts for gym passes to remind you that all the fun is over, it's time to get back to real life and stop eating all that pumpkin pie, get your butt on that treadmill. And to make matters worse, my sister-in-law got me the BBC adaptation of "North and South" for Christmas and since watching it (and binge-reading the book along with two "sequels"), I've had to come to grips with the fact that Richard Armitage is not my husband.

It's January, that cold month second only to February for being the most depressing, gray and drab time of the year. What are we all supposed to do? How do we pass the time until the first sunshiny rays of springtime?

Haha, oh wait. Just kidding. That's the rest of the country.

We live in New Orleans. We have MARDI GRAS down here, y'all!

Forgive me, I've lived here almost five years now and I still get some residual depression in January from living through, nay, surviving all those winters in Ohio. It's conditioned seasonal affective disorder. I have to keep reminding myself that this time of year is actually totally awesome. Here are some reasons why:

 

King Cakes
I have to remind myself that although pumpkin pie is definitely done, king cakes are about to descend upon us like locusts, if locusts were really awesome-tasting. I had my first slice two days ago when my boss (who is a chef) brought one to work from the Hi-Do Bakery on the West Bank, and it was definitely glorious and not too sweet, like other lesser-cakes. Chef reminded us – in classic chef fashion – that, "This is a f@#*ing king cake, there is a f@#*ing baby inside of it. If you get the f@#*ing baby, or you slice into the cake and hit the f@#*ing baby, you buy the next f@#*ing king cake." I love work.

 

A Muses shoe from last year's parade

Parades
We also have parades to look forward to! There are big parades, little parades, mega parades, satirical parades, dog parades, lady parades, any and all kinds of parades. There are so many parades to attend that if you try to make them all, the last thing you'll want to do on Mardi Gras day is go to a parade. My favorites are the ones that are more DIY and satirical, like Krewe Du Vieux, where many of the floats are not exactly rated PG. My friends and I will walk down to the Marigny with a cooler of beer and watch it from the beginning, walk a few streets over and catch it for a second time at the end.

 

Batman villains from a few years ago

Costumes
We have costumes to look forward to. Here in New Orleans, it's not just on Halloween that we all dress up, and in some ways the Mardi Gras costume is even more fun. It's whimsical not scary. I admit that I haven't even started thinking about it yet, but for the past few years we've done group costumes and I have no doubt that we'll come up with something good.

 

Friends
Another thing to look forward to is of course, friends. It never fails that I run into someone I haven't seen in months or years, and so many people are coming to visit this year. What Christmas is to seeing your family, Mardi Gras is to seeing your friends.

 

So even though it's kind of chilly right now, it's cool, because it's not going to last and it's a lot better than the sub-zero temperatures up north. And I'm not even sad that Christmas is over and I may even keep my tree up until Ash Wednesday, just taking off the ornaments and hanging Mardi Gras beads and lights on it instead. I'm so glad that I moved down here; it's done so much good for my general happiness and well-being during these winter months. Well, that and Netflix.

Happy Carnival season to all! We have much to look forward to.

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The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

about

Annie Drummond is a graphic designer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. She has a degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Two years ago she made the move from the Midwest to New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood and fell deeply in love as she discovered the rhythms and traditions of her new city. In addition to The Lighter Side, she writes about food, art and design (and other stuff) at www.AnniedelaDolce.com.

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