It took several days to clean out the apartment, so we pitched a tent in the backyard while waiting for the State Farm adjusters who, ironically, were from the Columbia, Missouri office I now visit. We learned that first afternoon that our rental property manager was planning to refurbish the old historic bakery apartment building and increase rent by 350%. So, we moved everything to a storage unit that subsequently filled with Katrina mold and waited to find my first job in Missouri in late December.
In one of the last closets I cleaned out, I found all of my years of accumulated Mardi Gras beads, cups, and doubloons. I had organized the plain beads by color in some earlier iteration of a general sense of tidiness I now lack. All of the "special" beads, the ones with plastic or metal medallions representing the krewes, were all in one big bag. While Doug was doing something useful in our destroyed apartment, I sorted through Mardi Gras beads. I thought I may return to the city to live, but even ten years later the poverty, income inequality, and gentrification alongside chronic societal issues make the town undesirable to me and Doug. I still visit my friends there, but compared to where I live now, the dysfunction of New Orleans is too much to handle.
So I saved my fancy Mardi Gras beads, left several nice big bags of them on the street (someone hit a jackpot) but I had no idea where I had stored them in my 675 ft.2 cottage in 2007. I found a small bag of beads last year--some Orpheus beads, a few Rex beads, my red beans and rice bead. Today, while pilfering my basement for basic household items to donate to a friend's new house, I found my fancy beads! And just in time for tonight's Winemaker's Mardi Gras Ball at Les Bourgeois, a five course Creole-inspired meal with wine pairings and live music. It's a formal ball, so I'll wear my real pearls, but also a 2004 Zulu Mr. Big Shot medallion bead, a Bacchus bead (of course), and Endymion and Tucks beads, two fun parades that roll today.
Catch the parades live from Fat Harry's, a little Uptown frat bar on St. Charles Ave. Go here for live streaming. If you miss a parade today, tune in through Tuesday when all the parades are being live streamed. You can also visit the local radio station, WWOZ, for streaming live New Orleans music 24 hours.