When you live in New Orleans, Lent is that brief period when people try to sober up between Mardi Gras and JazzFest. Like most New Orleanians, I need Lent.
For most of America the holiday season starts with Thanksgiving and ends with the new year. Bitch, please. Our holiday season… well, I don’t know when it starts exactly. With so many fall festivals and events that take place as early as September, then Halloween and Voodoo Fest… The party just keeps escalating until eventually you get to the more well-known biggies like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. But while the rest of the country is prostrate with exhaustion from those festivities, we are just getting started. The good times just keep rolling. The parties get boozier, the food keeps getting better, traffic and business grind to a halt, people get dressed up – as anything you could imagine, beads get thrown, people get bruised and fall on uneven sidewalks, and the good mood is contagious. Whew!
And remember – this doesn’t include one’s own personal celebrations like birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, fundraisers, and such. I sometimes wonder how anyone in this city has any money or is able to hold down a job.
I can’t tell you when the party starts but I can tell you when it ends. Lent. Everyone finally just stops, crawls into bed and braces themselves for work the next day.
Lent is when I detox, de-carb, attempt to get some exercise and try to put in a full work week. My friend says that there are three stages of being drunk: 1. You think you can dance. 2. You think you can sing 3. You think you are invisible. Lent is when you realize you are visible again. So it’s time for the gym, for organic food and some early nights. The warm weather is coming and that is a whole other kind of party. We gotta rest up.