Mardi Gras kind of snuck up on me this year. Obviously, it was a much bigger deal when we lived in New Orleans. It's a day off there in most jobs, and Sonia and I would walk down Bourbon Street and catch beads. It was always a real scene. Every year, a group of fundamentalists set up right in the middle of Bourbon Street with banners ("get born again-- ask me how..." etc); the last time we were there, we walked past just as a group of revellers rolled up a shopping cart with a blanket over it. They formed a circle around the fundamentalists, then pulled the blanket off of the shopping cart to reveal a paper mache cow painted gold. Then the revellers got on their knees and started to worship the calf. The funny thing is that the fundamentalists just seemed kind of amused. New Orleans is different. This morning as we got ready for work, Dan was watching PBS kids. There was a show about New Orleans. It had a little footage of previous years' Mardi Gras parades, but mostly it showed how people were reconstructing their lives almost two years after Katrina. And that kind of made me a little sad. When I first moved to New Orleans, if I told someone where I was from, they would say, "wooh wooh, Mardi Gras, party, etc etc". Now they pretty much always give the 25 degree head tilt and say, "Ohh...". I wonder how long it will take for that to stop happening.