Mardi Gras seems a little run-of-the-mill this year, but it could just be me. No one around me is hot for it this year, so no one around me is ratcheting up any sense of excitement. For the most part, I've avoided or been able to avoid the sort of situations that imply great excitement - big crowds, severe traffic, and long lines. Only on Friday afternoon when I left work in the Quarter at 3:30 did I face major traffic hassles as I worked me way Uptown. Then again, perhaps it's just a sign of good planning that I can work around the places where I'd likely face lines and crowds. The parades aren't noticeably smaller or stingier, and the crowds are dense and nutty for beads.
I suspect my reaction's just another manifestation of Katrina working its way through the system. In 2006, Mardi Gras was thrilling because it happened at all, and the weather on Fat Tuesday was the best ever. In 2007, it was exciting to see Mardi Gras return to form. Krewes that teamed up to parade in 2006 were able to stand on their own again, and the schools had enough students to make their own marching bands. In 2008, Mardi Gras was in great shape - not just back, but back as we remember it pre-K. This year seems like more of that. No hallmarks to make it seem special after three years of Mardi Gras feeling special.
Or, maybe it's me.