Stepped out of a restaurant on Bourbon Street and found myself in the midst of a New Orleans celebration: brass and drums and beads. I'm not sure it was an official parade -- I can't find it listed on any list of parades for the season -- but the cops had blocked off the street, and the marchers were tossing beads and the band was loud and rousing.
The city, and the carnival festivities, have a life of their own, foreign to some northerner like me. I need a guide, some sort of translator to walk by my side and tell me what's important and explain everything. Even the colors have meaning: purple represents justice; green, faith; and gold, power.
In the mean time, I'll just stand on the side of the street, listen to the jazz, and gather up the beads thrown my way.