~ 31 Days to Mardi Gras
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou ~ HANK WILLIAMS – JAMBALAYA LYRICS
I want to introduce you to a woman you’ll want to get to know. Maggie Worth. She’s my guest blogger this week. A BIG Thank you! to Miss Maggie.
Before we get to Maggie, we must set the mood with this week’s musical selection by Lucinda Williams
She’s strumming out one of my favorite tunes, Jambalaya, a Hank Williams tune.
(Uploaded 9/28/2009 by csparksnc1 on YouTube)
Now, herrrre’s Maggie!
Twenty-year Twelfth Night
My first real awareness of Mardi Gras came in 1997. I’d recently built an ATM network for a convenience store chain and discovered that armored car companies don’t run in New Orleans during the celebration. I was mildly surprised – I’d never realized Mardi Gras was that big a deal – and simply laughed when my vendor recommended I load $60,000 in ATMs that rarely went through ten grand a week. After much cajoling, the rep convinced me and I ordered the funds from the bank. Four hours into the festivities, the first machine transmitted an out of cash message. Within 48 hours, the other five followed. I was stunned.
A few months later, I got another glimpse into Louisiana culture when I interviewed a 19-year-old candidate for my recently-created assistant position. She’d moved from New Orleans to Atlanta just days before and promptly had her purse stolen. Determined not to miss the interview, she loaded what remained of her personal items into the only receptacle she had — an empty Crown Royal bag – and walked into my office as if it were the most normal thing in the world. I hired her on the spot, she was one of the most creative employees I’ve ever had, and she’s one of my best friends to this day.
The next year I finally had an opportunity to visit New Orleans. I was there only a couple of days and had meetings to attend all day, but I did get to spend a memorable evening in the Quarter with a cousin I hadn’t seen in years and managed to snag a shrimp po’ boy at Mama’s, something I’d been counseled not to miss.
Fast forward to early 2010. I was hunting up writing opportunities in an effort to get my freelance business off the ground and discovered the content farms. Since I only made between $15 and $17 per 400-word article, I tried to choose only assignments I could complete within 30 minutes. Once in a while, though, a title captured my attention and I’d spend hours researching a topic I knew nothing about, just because I wanted to learn.
Such was the case with “The History of Mardi Gras Costuming.” I’d never made the connection between Mardi Gras and Lent, hadn’t realized it was originally a French tradition, and didn’t realize that masking was originally identity protection rather than mere fun. I learned about the colors, the traditions, the krewes, and the music. I was so fascinated that I quickly decided to use the Mardi Gras theme for one of my annual girl parties, complete with tunes, drinks, beads, masks, and games. Plus a king cake baked by a local bakery named, appropriately, Lagniappe.
For years, I’ve told myself I’d go to the celebration someday, but never actually done it. Reading Linda’s blog has inspired me, though, and last week I made a discovery. In 2015, Mardi Gras falls on my birthday. Sounds like a girls’ trip to me! Who’s in?
Check out Maggie’s article The History of Mardi Gras Costuming http://www.ehow.com/about_6629359_history-mardi-gras-costuming.html
Now, some facts about Maggie:
Maggie is an author, speaker, reader, life learner, dog schmuck, polka-dot obsessionist, hair-flower fancier, future professor, foodie, and dreamer. She publishes nonfiction under her own name and light erotic romance as Maggie Montgomery. She’s toying with a romantic suspense, which might someday get published under Maggie Washington and will need even more names if she ever gets around to writing her comedic mysteries, children’s books, middle grades cowgirl series, and that horror screenplay lodged somewhere in her cerebellum. She blogs at fiveforfiction.com and welcomes followers at http://pinterest.com/magsmontgomery.
Many thanks to Maggie for sharing her story with us. I’m going to take her up on her offer of a trip to New Orleans in 2015.
And, if you can’t wait until then, any time is a good time to go. (Though, I wouldn’t recommend July and August) If Mardi Gras is not your thing, but books are, then consider RT BOOKLOVERS Convention in New Orleans May 14-18, 2014.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!