2006 marks the first Mardi Gras since
Hurricane Katrina, and its success will in many ways show how far the
region has come since the worst natural disaster in US history. But
perhaps just as importantly, the joy of Carnival will provide a much
needed release of tension the opportunity to laugh about the past year's
Parades thus far have included a mocking Michael Brown (infamous
former director of FEMA) impersonation, and have featured themes such as
"C'est Levee!" and "A Day at the Breach." While there are fewer parades
this year, and it will be a somewhat smaller and more somber event than
in the past, it is a relief to see that early talk that there
would be no Mardi Gras in the wake of Katrina has proven false. And
while many areas, such as the 9th Ward, still lie in ruin, the French
Quarter is close to its pre-Katrina condition.
Though this 150th Mardi Gras is a testament to the spirit of New
Orleans, it will also provide a test this year of the city's fragile,
rebuilding infrastructure. How law enforcement and emergency medical
services (roughly a third of the city's doctors have remained in the
area) are handled will be important issues to watch for.
Below are links to articles about 2006 Mardi Gras:
Search Mardi Gras and Katrina on Google News
The show must go on
"This year's march to Mardi Gras, the first since Hurricane Katrina left
the city a shell of its rip-roaring self, may be smaller and a little
more somber, but for Miss Stocker and the residents who've returned, it
will remain a celebration of family, friends and the city's guests."
from washtimes.com 2/15.06
Mardi Gras success critical to restoring NO image
"Our city brand and even our New Orleans lineage has taken a powerful
beating post-Katrina. This Mardi Gras could be the start of restoring
our good name and go a long way to energizing our business community."
Mardi Gras stirs pride, nonchalance in New Orleans
"In the picturesque French Quarter, the first parade marking the annual
carnival began this weekend with brightly colored floats mocking
government officials and a giddy pride that the "Big Easy" was on the
road to recovery from Hurricane Katrina."
Spears promises to reveal Mardi Gras suprise
"A Louisiana native, Spears will
visit the festivities, which will be broadcast on Good Morning America.
In a statement on her website Brit said, 'It is so important for this
amazing city to continue its annual traditions, and I am really looking
forward to being involved.' Spears will also be bringing "surprises" for
a group of "very deserving young residents."
Orleans hospital reopens, wary of Mardi Gras
"A group coordinating health care for Mardi Gras is still trying to
determine if it can set up a mobile hospital downtown. 'It looks
promising, which is about the best I can say when working with the
federal government,' said James Aiken, an LSU doctor working on the
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
"Yet life goes on, and as
the survivors of such World War II urban tragedies as Hiroshima, Dresden
and Leningrad can attest, it is never easy to kill a city. Just when you
think itís really gone, a few blades of grass poke up between the cracks
in the sidewalk." from
New Orleans: A Tale of Two Cities
"Yet those who have returned face a city that is under a lot of strain:
- Where there were seven working hospitals before Katrina only two
are open now.
- Just three of the city's 115 public schools are operating.
- Parts of the city are still without electricity.
- Firefighters are struggling to put out fires, because the water
pressure is low in some places.
- Police officers are still living in cramped conditions on a
- Thousands are still waiting on trailers promised by FEMA."
from cbn.com 2/15/06