Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Orleas does have four seasons

I know you're thinking that New Orleans certainly doesn't enjoy more than two weeks of either fall or spring, but before you disregard this entry, you have to understand we really do have four seasons - Shrimp, Crawfish, Carnival, and my favorite, football.

Shrimp and crawfish might run together for some people, but for non-shrimp eaters (I know it's a cardinal sin to admit this) like me, it's good to keep them separated. Shrimp is of course one of Louisiana's most prized exports. For more information on how important buying local shrimp is to the Louisiana economy, you can visit http://www.whitebootbrigade.org/index.php?page=home to learn all about the White Boot Brigade's efforts to keep shrimp prices high so that the local shrimp markets continue to thrive. The father of a friend of mine is a shrimper and I can tell you it is truly a labor of love. And in an effort to be a better New Orleanian, I am eating one shrimp each time I am somewhere that they are serving them or when Mark orders them. I am determined to love them!

Crawfish season has been one of the things I have missed most while not living in NOLA. There is something about the smell of a boil that melts my heart. Of course everyone loves a good boil because you can't get anything that tastes more like New Orleans than crawfish, onions, garlic (gawlic if you're my Dad!), sausage, lemon all stewed together in a hot vat of boiling Zatairan's crab boil, but I think the real reason the crawish boil resonates in New Orleans is that it is a celebration of food marked with everyone you love sitting around a communal table laughing and joking and telling stories. It's the perfect event to sum up the essence of everything that is New Orleans - good food, good people, good times.

Carnival - It's in February and already I get excited thinking about Mardi Gras. It truly is a season. Although it officially begins on All Kings Day, Carnival preparation really begin the very day after the last season ended. There is so much to get done to woo another crowd of revelers. The float builders have to get to building, the parade theme selectors have to get creative, and the Muses have to decorate shoes! For as long as I can remember, I have loved everything about Mardi Gras. The sights, the sounds, the smells. Just the other day, a diesel moving truck drove past Mark and me when we were out walking and I swear it smelled like a truck parade. It felt like in that moment around the next corner would be a marching band or a flambeau. It is the most amazing thing to know that no one person makes Mardi Gras, but together we all do. From the marching bands who provide us the rhythm that serves as the soundtrack of our lives, to the riders who put everything they have into entertaining the crowd, to the revelers who brightly line the streets in anticipation of something that for a local kid is just a part of the usual but is anything but usual, to the flambeaus who wait in line for hours to receive their torch that guides the way down the avenue, to the police officers who work countless hours to make sure it all goes off without a hitch. We are all apart of the greatest free show on Earth.

Last, but never least - football!!!!!!!!! Mark and I watched the Saints pre-season game this weekend (confession - I watched it twice). Every year about this time, I totally buy into all of the Saints hype. Every year around this time, I begin planning our annual trip (that never comes) to the Superbowl. I am not kidding. Just the other day, I started trying to figure out how much we should be putting aside each month to make the trip down to Miami to watch our Saints play for the championship. Of course, come December I am usually crying on our couch because we have wasted yet another opportunity to reach the heights of greatness. But see, that's what keeps me coming back. It's that each year in August I can dissect a pre-season game and give you at least five reason why this really is The Year! Being a Saints fan is like being in an abusive relationship. It is a relationship scarred with utter disappointment and pain, but you keep coming back because every once in a while it is just so good. Here's to this year. Black and Gold Superbowl!

PS - Although it has been given a title that would make you think it belonged in this group, hurricane season has no place on this list. In fact, the name of this time of year should be more appropriately named Hell.

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