The sounds of Mardi Gras

There are voices in the Quarter–loud, laughing, arguing. People woohooing, still, which will likely go on ’til midnight, Tuesday, when the police declare Mardi Gras over, and en masse, make everyone get off the streets and go home. The voices surge and fall, a tide that will rise and ebb again toward morning. Everything from, ‘Ma’am, are you okay?’ to someone who fell, to someone yelling at someone else to meet them at Tippitina’s, to the Jesus contingent who are roaming around the Quarter with signs, alternately singing hymns or screaming at the people that they are sinners. Lots of people milling the streets, pausing often to catch beads thrown (by tourists, mostly) from the upper balconies of the hotels, and cops every other inch, the clop clop clop of horses hooves as they patrol on their giant beasts. Someone is singing now, slightly drunkenly out of tune, and funny, and helicopters keep making rounds overhead–several, from different agencies, keeping watch. Everything gets punctuated every few minutes by the crackle of glass bottles in garbage bags being thrown out of the Hard Rock restaurant onto the already overflowing garbage bins set perpetually on the curb.

It’s like living behind the scenes of the big top, knowing all the magician’s tricks, and enjoying the show anyway.