I didn't realize until I moved to New Orleans that Mardi Gras isn't over in just one day. Parades, balls, king cakes, and snarled traffic take over New Orleans for two weeks. Many of the parades are breathtaking with gorgeous floats, a kaleidoscope of colors and smoke and fabulously dressed riders, like Smoking Mary, an iridescent float train about six cars long in the Orpheus Parade.
St. Anne is the people's parade on Fat Tuesday, the last day of Mardi Gras season. Anyone can join, unlike the more elaborate parades where you have to be a member of a sponsoring krewe. Some people work all year sewing costumes, but others just throw something together. Family and friend groups come up with themes--snarkily decorated boxes over their heads exemplifying quarantine, or a family dressed as roller derby skaters, the Nola Rollas. The red-velvet-cake couple in the photo above were behind a woman covered in soda cans and beside a couple dressed as sunflowers. After days of fancier, pre-planned parades, it's a joy to mingle together on the street. It also has an interesting history.
There was an especially mellow spirit in the air this year with people thankful to be able to celebrate after the unthinkable occurred in 2021 and Mardi Gras was cancelled. Mardi Gras has a new story every time you go out and St. Anne Parade is really special.
I had a great time last week as the guest author at a memoir class at Simon Fraser University Writers Studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. The students asked great questions like how much I wrote during the sailing voyage, and what my revision process was like. It was also lovely to hear their work.
I'm excited to announce that excerpts of Holding Fast will appear in the next four issues of Blue Water Sailing along with photos, some of which have not previously been published. I'll keep you posted when it comes out!
If you've read the book, please review it on Amazon. It's easy to do–click the link below and scroll down the page until you see "write a customer review" and click on it. It doesn't have to be brilliant, a couple of phrases are fine!