Thursday, March 10, 2011
Mardi Gras in New Orleans: It's All About Repression
You think Las Vegas is debaucherous? I have two words for you: New Orleans. Better yet: Mardi Gras.
This past weekend, I went to New Orleans for the first time. What a magical city! Soul and music lurk around every corner, and the old sections of the city ooze of history and culture. But Mardi Gras is something else!
Simply put, I've never seen people so drunk in my entire life - and baby has been around the block. Men and women hobbled arm in arm down the sidewalks, one holding another up after too many shots or beers purchased from vendors set up right on the street. My thoughts as I witnessed the drunken stupors of individuals age 16 to 70 were less judgmental than analytical - I actually wondered what the degree of excess really meant.
Clearly, thousands of Mardi Gras participants felt the need to let loose, and to do so in a really big, 3-D sort of way. And I'm not just talking about drinking. In fact, every other person seemed to smoke a cigarette (sadly, mself included), puffs of marijuana were never more than a car length away, and people showed their private parts for a simple strand of beads thrown over balconies on Bourbon Street. If you haven't ever seen Mardi Gras, trust me: you've never seen people let go like this.
Witnessing the debauchery, I thought about how repressed everyone must be in their predictable daily lives back at home. Millions sit in office cublicles while they crunch numbers or review endless reports, while countless others spend their time on projects that never render much appreciation at all from bosses who far out-earn them.
Ultimately, it occured to me that the debauchery I witnessed wasn't that strange, after all. It makes sense, when you think about it in perspective, that people need to pop the cork on the repression that rules their usual lives and truly let go on vacation. Until I attended my first Mardi Gras, I just never knew how much.
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