Let the Parades Begin!

January 16 2006

by Sal Mannino, Staff Writer

The sports world has The Super Bowl, The Final Four, The World Series. To New Orleans, Mardi Gras is our biggest event each year. While Mardi Gras can refer to the whole carnival season, Mardi Gras Day (Fat Tuesday) is the day that all of America envies and only wishes they could be here for the celebration. But most of all, it is a day that belongs to all of us who call New Orleans home.

This year's Mardi Gras takes on even more importance because we must let the world know that New Orleans is alive and open for business. While many of us are still trying to get our lives back to some normalcy, we are surviving from Hurricane Katrina and our spirit is enduring this tragedy.

Much like New York continued after 911 with New Year Eve's celebration in Times Square, Mardi Gras has to take place in New Orleans . We cannot allow Katrina to stop the parade. Our tourism industry directly employs over 85,000 workers...and Mardi Gras is vitally important to the tourism economy. Consequently, having Mardi Gras take place even with some surrounding neighborhoods still devastated, directly will help bring locals back to their jobs...back “home”.

To locals, Mardi Gras is our special holiday. It is a day for families and friends, people of all ages, races and cultures, to unite and celebrate and throw a free party in the streets in the spirit of having fun that no one can duplicate.

Mardi Gras showcases to the world all that makes New Orleans such a wonderful destination. Our music, our food, our culture and the spirit of our people...Mardi Gras...the soul of our great city! So let the parades begin and we invite the world to our city to join us in our very special Mardi Gras tradition.

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