Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Carnival. Today is the Tuesday before Lent, when the church prepares for Easter. Tomorrow is a time of repentance, but today is a time to party. The huge revelry, the debauchery, is happing as I type this in New Orleans, but many of us prefer a more traditional celebration.
I prefer the small-town Mardi Gras, and all over south Louisiana, small towns are celebrating in anticipation of Lent. No one song epitomizes the small-town revelry, for me at least, than La Danse de Mardi Gras. It tells a story about a group of horseback riders, Les Courirs, gathering the ingredients for a feast.
It's cold and wet and miserable outside, but Les Courirs will ride today, as they have for many, many years. If a group of strangely dressed horsemen shows up in your front yard, give them a chicken, or a sack of rice, or some onions, or anything they can use to make a gumbo. It's small-town Louisiana's way of celebrating the coming of Lent.