Saturday, December 10, 2005

What If We Had a Mardi Gras in New Orleans and No New Orleanians Came?

The Mayor wants Mardi Gras to go on next year.

However, when he was in Atlanta, it seemed like he didn’t:
The mayor said he agreed that holding Mardi Gras would be inappropriate. He said he had tried to persuade tourism officials in New Orleans not to hold it next year but was overruled.

Then, the Mayor said he *did* want Mardi Gras next year, but with a little help from the tourism industry:
"I want to see a Mardi Gras," Nagin said Tuesday, "but I want to see the hotels and the tourist industry do something more substantial for New Orleanians."

Oh, and it looks like in order for Mardi Gras to roll next year, it will have to be sponsored.

Should we have Mardi Gras next year?

Full disclosure: Right after Katrina, I was looking forward to Carnival. I wanted to go sit with my family on St. Charles with a couple boxes of chicken and beer, watch the lil’ po’ boy run around catching a bunch of beads I ain’t got room for in my house, get drunk and tired, and eventually get into a fight with da po’ wife.

But I realized that I was yearning for pre-Katrina Mardi Gras – and a romanticized version at that. Overall, I have been yearning for a romanticized pre-Katrina version of New Orleans, and sometimes that gets in the way of my post-Katrina planning.

Yes, having Mardi Gras next year will send the message that the Mayor and the tourism industry want: New Orleans is open for business. But, to cancel Mardi Gras would send a more powerful message to the nation: We are not back to normal and we need your help.

Which one is more accurate? Which one helps us in our mission to rebuild?

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