When I moved to New Orleans at the tail-end of the 20th century, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Despite a couple brief visits in my youth, the city was a virtual blind spot for me. I was sadly ignorant of even the most iconic aesthetics of New Orleans culture. The filigreed ironwork in the Quarter, the second-line parasol, oysters on the half shell — these were all revelations to me.
But the biggest revelation was surely Carnival. I wonder if native New Orleanians can ever truly appreciate the shock of this discovery. To encounter a new holiday at age 33 is bracing, to say the least.
And not just a new holiday — a whole new holiday season. What fun.