March 1st, 2011
Dear Houston: Messin’ With Mardi
Why does Galveston mess with Mardi Gras? Just leave it where it belongs, in Weesiana!
While Galveston’s not exactly in our scope most of the time, it’s where so many of us go to enjoy pristine, white sand beaches, sparkling, clement waters and a serene crowd of respectful, tiki-drink serving natives. It certainly deserves some consideration . Or something like that.
Let me drop a brief history-lesson on you, complements of the Wikipedia School of History at the University of Google. Mardi Gras has been celebrated in French/Catholic culture all over the world for millions of years (this may need a fact check). However, in the U.S., NOLA wasn’t even the first to follow suit. If we’re hell-bent on leaving traditions where they originate, New Orleans should have left the celebration in Mobile, AL, the first capitol of French Louisiana. Their historical records of chugging four hand grenades and getting kicked out of a Rick’s after throwing up on a lady named “Star” date all the way back to Fat Tuesday, 1703. But what fun would an Alabama-only Mardi Gras be? The movable meth lab would have replaced the krewe float, and cries of “Show me your lady parts*!” would fill the air…well, I guess some things probably wouldn’t have changed.
Galveston picked up the celebration over 100 years ago in 1867. While it originally began as a masquerade ball and a fat man in tights performing Shakespeare, it has upped the ante to become the largest celebration of its kind in the state. The Galveston Chamber of Commerce is expecting the celebration, which is already in full swing, to top out at well over 200,000. Revelers heading down to the island to party will bear witness to 18 unique parades and enjoy a kooky blend of music stylings. You’ve already missed Neon Trees, but you can still make Reckless Kelly on Friday. The island has come so far since Ike came and peed on its sand castle in ’08, so let’s let them have this.
Some things can be left where they lie. Bertram can keep its Oatmeal Festival, the Luling Watermelon Thump can only be pulled off in a small, Texas town that smells like the Fern Gully monster and Nederland, CO can hang on to Frozen Dead Guy Day.
To your point though, Jeff, I think your head’s in the right place. I love your H-Town hubris, and I’m all for keeping things as city-centric as possible, but it’s important not to let snarky pride get in the way of a darn good time. When it comes to letting the good times roll for an entire two-week stretch and doing unspeakable things for plastic trinkets thrown by drunk men and women in psychedelic masks and costume, well, I think that’s something in which we can all see the value.
Laissez les bons temp rouler!
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