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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 2 & 3: Mardi Gras and Such

So, yesterday was our second full day in New Orleans. The conference has been really enjoyable. We went out to lunch yesterday with a bunch of other newbies, so we actually got to know some people. It is kind of hard that everyone here seems to know a bunch of people and we don't really know anyone. Marc recognized some people, but we don't really know anyone. We are trying though. Anyhow, lunch yesterday was at a place much pricier than we would have normally picked, but the food was excellent. Best dirty rice and Cajun green beans I've had maybe ever.

This was probably my favorite float.
Last night, we went to our first Mardi Gras parade. Exciting!! This stuff is a big deal here. The floats were really elaborate. We caught lots and lots of beads. They were throwing some other stuff too, but we didn't really get anything else. Marc almost got this cute purple snake to give Vinny, but this crazy woman next to us (like seriously, I think she was a few screws loose) wanted to fight him for it, which totally wasn't worth it. No one else here has been like that though. Everyone is very gracious and kind and considerate. Even though the parades are very crowded, there isn't any real pushing or shoving or anything. Just lots of happy people. :-)

At the Cajun Cabin
After the parade finished, we were able to cross Canal street to wander around the French Quarter to find some dinner. We found the perfect little place- the Cajun Cabin. Seriously, this place was adorable. It has wooden paneled walls so that it really looks like a cabin, but it kind of looks like you are outside the cabin on like the deck (but I mean inside the restaurant it looks like this) because it has swampy looking trees everywhere, covered with little white lights. The food was excellent too. They had both Cajun jambalaya (brown) and Creole jambalaya (red). I much prefer Creole food to Cajun food, so I was super excited that they had the option.

Bourbon Street has a really fun vibe at Mardi Gras. Lots of cops on horseback keeping the drunk people in line, but honestly, it is not quite as chaotic as it seems on television. Of course, the actual day of Mardi Gras it is technically two weeks away, but this is still Mardi Gras season, and there were a ton of people, but everyone is just so celebratory. Eat, drink, and be merry!  They sure are good at that here. It is kind of funny to think that all of this is actually related to Lent and started for the purpose of partying it up before giving stuff up for Lent. Speaking of Lent... apparently Lutherans actually do Lent. I mean, like, they have Ash Wednesday service and stuff and a lot of people give stuff up for Lent. I have never given anything up for Lent before. I wonder what I could give up for Lent. What do I love that I could technically live without?  Suggestions?

Today we went to another parade. Last night was the Krewe of Oshun. As we were watching it, I was sort of wondering... where are all the white people? I know they kind of segregate things here, but I was surprised that there really like no white people in the whole parade. I thought to myself, "Hmm.... I wonder if there is a white parade?"

Yup. There is a white parade. We went to it today. Now to be fair, the white parade did have some all black schools marching in it too (unlike the black parade that had NO white people), and some of the all white schools did have a couple of black students, but the lines are pretty clear here. I was thinking about how complicated that must be. Like... there were lots of dance studios with groups marching in both parades. But the black parade had all black dance groups and the white parade had all white dance groups. As a parents, how do you know which one to sign up for?  I mean, clearly they aren't labeled. That must put people who are new in town in a lot of awkward situations.

There are actually two more parades this evening, so we are going to try to get some rest and then hopefully catch a bit of those parades before we go to tonight's celebration at the conference.  :-)

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