I participated in my first New Orleans Carnival with a great friend living in New Orleans in 2006, the first Mardi Gras following Katrina.  What I witnessed and what I felt then and since was not something i expected.  It is a family affair, neighbors, citizens.  It is a celebration on a grand scale.  One of my most favorite parts of Carnival are the marching bands.  Perhaps because I attended small schools that didn't have them, I am not certain, but hearing the multitude of bands warming up before the grand march down St. Charles Avenue gave me chills and a giant smile.  The celebration lasts weeks and permeates the city.  We happen upon small and large festivities, some which appear un-planned and others part of a long tradition, as we traverse town getting to and from home.

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