It’s 3 a.m., and we just got back from New Orleans. We watched three parades roll tonight down St. Charles Avenue. Man, was it fun! It normally takes about 90 minutes to get from Starhill to downtown NOLA, but Carnival weekend traffic turned the trip into a four hour slog. Once we arrived, though, it was more than worth the trouble. Our friends D. and M. had a party at D.’s law office, which offered prime viewing of the parades.

And drinks. Including Jell-O shots. Here’s Julie doing something she never did in college:

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Meanwhile, the kids were out on the balcony watching the parades. Here’s Lucas (my policy, by the way, is never to show my children’s faces on the blog if I can help it):

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And Nora, who learned tonight to say, “Throw me something, Mister!”:

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Hands down our favorite parade was the Krewe d’Etat’s. This krewe, we learned, is famous for being savagely satirical, and unsparing of all its targets. They had a North Korean float, accompanied by a squad of dancing Kim Jong Uns, and Dennis Rodmans. A couple of them came up to the balcony for a beer:

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One of the floats made wicked fun of Pope Francis. I laughed so hard I forgot to take photos until the very end. Check out the Times-Picayune’s shots of the Krewe d’Etat parade, and go through them until you find the two of the Francis float. At the top, a sign says, “Divorced? Gay? No problem!”, above an image of Francis looking like a used car salesman. They had images of Benedict saying, “I shoulda stayed,” and Cardinal Burke saying, “He’s gotta go.” It was hilarious. I did catch a quick shot of the backside of the float. That’s a nude Francis below, reaching out to God, i.e., Fidel Castro:

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That city. I swear. Only a city as Catholic as New Orleans is could get away with a float like that. Only a city as Catholic as New Orleans is would be able to put an image of Cardinal Burke on the float, and count on people understanding it.

Driving out of the city, I thought, “This is why I live in Louisiana. For nights like these.”

When we arrived home, there was a package waiting for me. It contained a mock-up of my Dante book with the new cover design. It’s jaw-dropping, truly a triumph of art and design. I will show it to you as soon as I get the go-ahead. But it was a nice birthday present for Your Elderly Working Boy, now 48. I’m exhausted from all the parades and the driving, but I just can’t stop staring at it. That’s how beautiful it is.

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