Education Opinion

Happy Mardi Gras!

By Roslyn Johnson Smith, Ph.D. — February 05, 2008 2 min read
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I love the marching bands, the high school dance teams, and the cleverly themed floats. I like to see the people in crazy costumes, the happy families, and the colorful throws flying from the hands of float riders to the eager clutches of spectators. Teenagers, in my day, had to have new jeans and tennis shoes when we went to parades on Mardi Gras. We waited anxiously for a fleeting glimpse of the Mardi Gras Indians in their beautiful feathered and beaded suits. From the Wild Magnolias to the Guardians of the Flame, they are still a unique and beautiful sight to see.

For those of you who are not in New Orleans and wondering what this international festival is like to those of us who are natives, it is a time of celebration. And I can see all of it from home in the comfort of my kitchen. I’m sitting at the table watching the parade coverage on TV and glancing out of the picture window at the man-made lake beyond my backyard. I love Mardi Gras, even from home.

Yesterday, we had a Lundi Gras party. It was an excuse to have a cookout with family and friends. My daughter had lots of guests, some of whom snuck into the city for a few days, cutting college classes in exchange for a city-wide party. We had other friends and family who enjoyed red beans and rice, jambalaya, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and King Cake. I think everyone needed a day off. How hard can that be to take a day off in the middle of the Mardi Gras festivities in a city that has as its theme, “Laissez les bon temps roulez?”

The principal of our school spent one of his days off at the building with the Sewerage and Water Board supervisors and the RSD plumbers trying to find the source of a water leak. The city workers said the underground break was on the school property and beyond their control. The school district supervisors said the leak was in the street causing a back up of sewerage onto the school’s property. They dug up part of the yard at the fence, but could not dig up the sidewalk or the public street. After five telephone calls, three emails, and several hours of going back and forth (while the party was going on), I was assured that we would have a repair crew to address the problem on Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras—the day before we are scheduled to return to school from the break.

As an extra assurance, I copied the email to a friend who works in city government. She forwarded the request to the head of the water department for us. I hope that does the trick. We’ll see. We are in our countdown to final preparations for the LEAP tests. I hope we don’t have any emergencies that interfere with our scheduled practice days.

Anyway, I’m going back to the parades—I mean the kitchen. Let the good times roll!

The opinions expressed in Starting Over: A Post-Katrina Education are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.