Way down south, past even 61st Street, lies a city (un)affectionately referred to as the Sodom and Gomorrah on the Mississippi– New Orleans. But the heavily Catholic city is only a city of sinners, degenerates, and Saints fans (but I repeat myself) on 364 days out of the year; choosing instead to honor the city’s Catholic heritage through the famous celebration of one of Christianity’s most important, sacred holidays: Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras, of course, is the solemn occasion wherein the most devoted of Christians get absolutely trashed… for God. So every year flocks of the Lord’s most devoted followers flood into the Big Easy to make their Lent less hard and their weekend more Jesus-y. The result? The most noble, pious, God-infused debauchery you’ll find on God’s green earth (outside of the Vatican orgy rooms).
Or at least so I thought. Imagine my shock when I arrived in New Orleans this past weekend to a procession of drunk college kids and drunk adult kids parading half-nude around the city. To my surprise, there were no priests to be found, and all the nuns acted super offended when I tossed beads at them!
Worst yet, the people I did talk to didn’t see Mardi Gras as a part of a larger Christ-filled journey of prayer, personal reflection, and minor self-sacrifice you do to feel better than other people. When I asked the parade-goers what they were giving up for Lent, I received a host of different answers, ranging from “non-alcoholic drinks” to “studying bro, haha” and even “Get that fucking recorder out of my face.” Afterwards, I was offered two loose joints, seven Natty Lights, and a line of coke on the way back to my hotel room. I don’t know quite what it is, but I’m starting to suspect these kids aren’t into Mardi Gras for religious reasons.