Mardi Gras Celebration Marred by Peace and Lawfulness

No One Injured, Few Arrested, Many Dismayed

New Orleans, February 28, 2001: It was anything but business as usual for police officers and party-goers alike last night, as the city wrapped up Mardi Gras celebrations. No one was injured and very few people were arrested in the tamest "Fat Tuesday" in recent memory. Many revelers and would-be rioters were discouraged, and some were outraged, at this deviation from the traditional culmination of Mardi Gras.

Scott Carlton, a Sophomore at the University of Nebraska, expressed his disappointment on Bourbon Street early this morning. "This sucks, man. Me and my friends drove all the way down here for this shit? I donít think so," he yelled, his speech only slightly slurred at 3:00 am.

"Yeah," his friend, Marty Kiernan, agreed. "This was totally lame, dude. Nobody was throwing bottles, and I only got to grope a few chicks." Kiernan, a Junior at NU, sipped a beer before adding, "I can do that at any frat party back in Lincoln."

"We were down here last year," Jarod Alten said, "and it was so much better than this. This was bullshit." Alten, also a Sophomore at NU, expounded on why 2000's celebration was more enjoyable. "I was right in the middle of one of the riots last year, and it was so cool. I punched several people and broke some windows. Some of my buddies had a chick down on the ground and were ripping her clothes off, but then the fucking cops came," he said. "It was great, though; one of my buddies got maced in the face," he added with enthusiasm. Then his face turned to frustration again. "But this here, this was boring as shit."

Other college students, many of whom had traveled across the country to enjoy the celebration, echoed the Nebraska trioís opinions. "It was pretty lame," Tiffany Jackson said. "I got a lot of beads and flashed my tits and everything, but nobody felt me up, and I only saw one person get beat up." Jackson, a Sophomore at Penn State University, had caravanned down to New Orleans last weekend with six of her sorority sisters. "Iím really disappointed," she said, summing up her feelings.

"I just feel bad for the Freshman," Amber Daultry said. Daultry, a senior at PSU and Secretary of the Delta Delta Delta sorority there, continued by saying "my Ďbig sisterí brought me here four years ago, and it was the time of my life. I saw things that just blew my mind, and she ended up needing stitches after somebody hit her with a bottle. Iíve come back every year since, always with a group of girls. Each year we have a blast, but this year..." She paused and looked around dejectedly at the relatively kempt streets, before finishing her thought. "What are these girls going to think. This is their only experience with Mardi Gras, and itís been ruined."

Not everyone shared the studentsí views, however. Otis Lavalier, a retired bank officer, enjoyed the celebration from atop a float. "This was the way itís supposed to be," the 65-year-old New Orleans native said, as he changed out of a sequined jumper and cape after the street-party had wound down. "The celebrations had gotten away from the spirit of Karneval in the past few decades, you know. My familyís been participating in this event since my fatherís time, and I enjoyed introducing my son to it. But in my granddaughterís lifetime, itís degenerated into a bunch of drunken idiots trying to break things." Levalier added that his family had considered not participating in the annual event several times in the past decade due to the violent and unruly turn it had taken. "Iím glad to see it return to what Mardi Gras is all about," he concluded.

Told of Levalierís comments, Brett Daniels angrily demanded "Where is that old fart? Iíll kick his ass." Daniels, a 34-year-old resident of Shreeveport who drives to New Orleans each year for the celebration, added "The floats and costumes are fine and everything, but they arenít the point of Mardi Gras. Itís about getting drunk, kicking ass, seeiní a lot of tits, andĖif youíre luckyĖgetting a piece of ass or two." He took a sip of beer, smiled, and said, "it reminds me of my college years, except even better. Not this year, though," he added, turning angry again. "This year those old farts and lame-asses ruined it for all of us. Itís a sad day for America when they turn a kick-ass party like Mardi Gras into some kind of boring, cultural festival."

(c) Hylo Bates, 2001

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