Let us pause for a moment and remember Spring 2020…

A moment is all it should take.

Or it could take a lifetime if you are obsessed with chronicling grief.

Surely Spring 2020, which ends next Saturday, June 20, is perhaps the worst modern era, non-wartime spring ever. As though to rub it in, the season even began a couple of days earlier that usual. By the dictates of the Vernal Equinox, spring can begin either March 19, 20 or 21. Seldom, however does it start on the 19th. It has happened only once before in the last 124 years but this year it did it again.

Usually March 19 is a celebratory occasion in New Orleans because it is the Feast Day of St. Joseph, who the Sicilians’ honor for having once saved their island from a famine. In the preceding days altars of food are built and there are parades.

Not this year. Because of you know what, hardly anything was allowed to happen. At Angelo Brocato’s bakery on Carrollton Avenue, there was a table set up at the front door from which the necessary pastries could be purchased. Off to the side there was a small altar made of confections.

Two days earlier was the Irish’s Feast of St Patrick, another time for celebrating and parading. This year nothing. A sign of how bleak things were going to be was that police broke up an Uptown St. Patrick’s Day street party, as well as a second line parade. This was not the New Orleans we knew.

Easter? Passover? Whatever happened to them? With just about any event that needed people closed, there was little to do and even less after the Jazz Fest and the French Quarter Festivals were shut down too.

There was plenty time to think about what’s ahead. What will the office of the future look like? Will we ever be able to hug again?

And there was time to hope. In a month or so the restrictions will be lifted, and we will be back to normal. Won’t we?

Since movie theaters were closed film viewing had to be on TVs or computers. If you watched war movies you might have noticed that the enemy was always visible, but not ours. The enemy might not be around, or it could be on our desk.

Now we pause for the good news…

We will let you know when it arrives.

Did you notice that the astronomical curiosity of having such an early beginning to spring was barely mentioned? Nor was the season’s arrival. It is not that nobody cared. We were all just preoccupied with life.

A new word that zoomed toward popularity during the season was Zoom. Some of us have gotten used to seeing each other in electronic squares. What’s scary is that after a while the images on the screen begin to seem real just like being at a virtual cocktail party.

Spring did not fail us in delivering its annual bouquet of buds. In our area, magnolia trees are snowcapped with white flowers. The azaleas came early in the shades of purple and reds; irises staged their brief show. Jazmine again favored us with its fragrance. And we still hope.

My guess is that things will be better by next March; in time for St. Joseph’s Day.





BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s books, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” and “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2017 and 2013), are available at local bookstores and at book websites.