I can't believe I live in a place where no one pays attention to Mardi Gras. I know it's already 2 days ago but I'm listening to Cajun music now & doesn't that make you want to drink a hurricane & reel down a French Quarter street? The first time I was in New Orleans, my boyfriend & I hitchhiked down. What I remember most is that it was 10 below when we set out from Michigan and it was 70° when we got there a day or 2 later. We slept in the station wagon of a guy named Ron who we met hanging out. He'd driven down from Somewhere, his car broke down, & he said he was never leaving. A year later we spotted him on TV in the Mardi Gras coverage, so he did stay, it seems. I used to think how different my life would have been if I'd grown up there, so far from the austere pleasures of the upper midwest: all that warmth, fun, music, food, color, visitors.