Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Krewe for the Holiday Blues

I grew up near Cleveland, so the winter holidays in a warmer climate have their own special assets...but the truly magical bonus about Christmas season in New Orleans is that it's rather quickly followed by Mardi Gras season. When I first moved here, I deeply appreciated the transformation of holiday decor fluidly transformed into equally elegant Mardi Gras decor on wreaths, bushes, trees, and lawn ornaments. I loved that Christmas didn't so dramatically end and that, rather than winter turning dark again, in fact it got even brighter with a daily feast of costumes, floats, parties, and parades.

When I started the Joan of Arc parade, several of the founding krewe members commented that the krewe was a lifesaver for them because of their usual winter blues. Whether their melancholy was due to Christmas itself or the depression that sets in despite sunnier skies here compared to their northern origins, these women and men remarked how cool it was to have something so close to Christmastime to celebrate that joined the two seasons together..which is of course what Twelfth Night is meant to do, as the Epiphany!

Lucky for us, Joan's birthday falls on January 6th and so just when we might be sad or exhausted after New Year's Eve, and wondering what next to look forward to besides taking down the tree, or waiting at least a month for the first official Mardi Gras float to travel down a major street in the city, we have this to do: dress up in warm medieval clothes and walk with people of all ages and backgrounds through the chilly French Quarter, sharing the last feelings of Christmas cheer together and getting excited to move into Mardi Gras with a new spirit, thanks to Joan!