I almost take it all back. Almost.

It’s warm and sunny, and I’m full of King Cake and excited for Krewe du Vieux.

The kids are making shoebox floats and planning their costumes.

My coworkers are showing up to work with glitter on their faces and hot glue burns on their fingers.

The marching bands are practicing all over the city; I can hear brass band music while soaking in my tub upstairs.

It’s one of my favorite times in the city, the sweet lull between Epiphany and the high gear of parade season – the same reason I love Thursdays and packing for a vacation and putting on my makeup before a party: the quiet hum of anticipation.

As much as this city frustrates me – and it does; it does – I will never forget the itchy impatience I had during the Carnival seasons I spent in Missouri; my disdain for the St. Louis version of “Mardi Gras,” held on a Saturday; the surreal feeling I had walking through the snow to take an exam on Fat Tuesday on my first Carnival season away from home and my anger when the dining hall that night served a “special Mardi Gras menu” featuring Hoppin’ John and hush puppies.

This is home and will never not be home. 

And even if they can boil crawfish in Minnesota, there is no place like New Orleans, especially during Carnival time.

None of this, though, means I don’t want the city to be better. At the very least, I’d like to have confidence that our water was reliably drinkable.

Much like I will always love my husband and kids even as I nag them to take their blood pressure medicine or focus on their homework, I want better for New Orleans because I care.

I’m willing to let it slide, though – until Feb. 14.

Until then, New Orleans, I almost forgive you for last week. Almost.