SUPER FAT TUESDAY
2008 Mardi Gras Rivals Pre-Katrina Extravaganzas
Two and a half years after hurricane Katrina, the 2008 Mardi Gras season in New Orleans
and across the gulf coast - the earliest in modern history - proved again what it has done
since 1857 - that it will prevail against man-made, natural, or even political elements.
At 8AM on Mardi Gras Day, the Zulu club began a magnificent and historical march from
uptown, through downtown, extending it's route this year to include a run down Orleans
Avenue, passing uninhabited housing projects packed with spectators & vehicles, then on to
the club's headquarters in Mid-City, as a symbolic show of cultural heritage.
Then about 10AM, Rex, the King of Carnival, started his parade's traditional roll, followed
by the "truck float" parades, lasting until late afternoon, culminating a parade season
considered by many to be the largest and most successful Mardi Gras since Katrina.
Original predictions were that with such an early date following Christmas, college spring
breakers still in school, Bacchus vs. the Super Bowl on Sunday, and Mardi Gras vs."Super
Tuesday" presidential primaries, Mardi Gras in New Orleans would be unsuccessful.
Weather disruptions or worries caused some added doubt this year, even on the Big Day, as
temperatures up to a record-breaking high for the day of 81 degrees but a chance of rain.
In the first full weekend of parades, on both sides of the Mississippi river, Jefferson
parish presented a successful second annual "Family Gras" event, with featured
appearances by Cowboy Mouth, Irma Thomas, The Bangles, Frankie Ford, and others.
On the first Monday two postponed parades from the first Friday marched in 40 degree
weather. Due to extremely bad weather reports all parades scheduled for the Thursday
preceding Mardi Gras in the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas were cancelled or
Mardi Gras weekend's parades, including those called "super krewes" (because of their
membership size,extravagant floats and star appeal), all rolled as planned, with Endymion
featuring Kevin Costner on Saturday night triumphantly returning to its original Mid-City
route for the first time since hurricane Katrina, and Bacchus on Sunday featuring Hulk
Hogan as King. The night before Mardi Gras (called "Lundi Gras") Harry Connick, Jr.'s
Morpheus parade made it's run.
Held in doubt after 2005, the 150th anniversary Mardi Gras in 2006 was as controversial as
Nagin's "Chocolate City" statements a few weeks earlier that year. It left many people -
especially many Katrina evacuees dispersed around the country - wondering if city leaders
were making wise decisions in trying to prove to the world that New Orleans was rising
from ruins.The 2007 Mardi Gras season last year was an even stronger showcase which
exemplified the spirit of resiliency displayed all along the gulf coast since Katrina and Rita,
from Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana to Florida. It also put many doubts to rest.