Fat Tuesday this year was Tuesday, February 13th. Fat Tuesday marks the last day of the Carnival Season and always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Have you ever been to New Orleans or celebrated Mardi Gras there? It really should be a bucket list item.
My family and I once lived in a suburb of New Orleans. It was only briefly and I was only four years old. But, wow, did that city have an impact on me. As a four year old little girl, I was intrigued by the lights and sounds and the party atmosphere. Even the funerals in New Orleans have a party ambience.
The masks worn by Mardi Gras revelers were mysterious and exotic to me. Every time we went to Bourbon St. I was on high alert, taking everything in with open mouth wonder.
I remember a bar on Bourbon St. called Big Daddy’s. Big Daddy’s was not a place a four year old needed to be and I never went in, but I remember craning my neck and standing on my tiptoes to see all that I could I see.
The one detail about Big Daddy’s that will forever stay in my mind is the window in the front of the bar where a woman sat on a swing and pumped her legs to move her back and forth, in and out of the window. I couldn’t believe swinging on a swing was a real job. I had found my life’s calling.
I talked about it all the time and told anyone who would listen.
“What do you want to be when you grow up Samantha?”
“I want to be the girl who swings in and out of the window at Big Daddy’s!”
Oh my! You can imagine the pride my parents felt for me. I laugh everytime I think about it.
I did love my time in the city. That year for Mardi Gras the kids on our block got together and we pulled our decorated wagons down the street throwing beads to our parents standing on the sidewalks. Our very own Mardi Gras parade. When we were finished we would go back around collecting the beads so we could do it all again.
Now, Crawfish, gumbo, and cold beer are how I mark Mardi Gras with friends, but I will forever remember the year New Orleans and Big Daddy’s changed my life.
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the good times roll!