Less than a year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans is proceeding with its annual Mardi Gras celebration. While some may consider this too soon, it is time for the city to heal and get back to a state of normalcy.
Mardi Gras has always been heralded as a huge success for the city. It is vital for the rebuilding and restructuring and is also vital to those who participate in Lent.
The celebration precedes Lent. Fat Tuesday is the last day of Mardi Gras and the next day – Ash Wednesday – is the first day of Lent.
The ruin caused by Katrina has put a damper on the availability of resources for the celebration, but many tourists and citizens have taken part in the festivities. There are about 10,000 fewer hotel rooms and fewer than half of the restaurants available in comparison to last year’s event. There is no way for the city to recoup the financial losses from Katrina, but standing fast and continuing tradition will show the residents of Louisiana that despite the slow response and lengthy recovery effort, there remains hope for the future of New Orleans. Katrina exploited many weaknesses in the region, ruining the lives of thousands and costing more than $2 billion in the process, according to the Red Cross.
Mardi Gras is an integral part of curing the city of New Orleans. The decision to proceed with the celebrations is a sign of good things returning to Bourbon Street.