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“The Greatest Mardi Gras Illusion: The Happiness of the Poor”

06_rexMarch 8, 2011 In the Bywater – New Orleans Cheyenne, my old, arthritic Australian cattle dog, needed walking so we jumped out on the street early in a light, warm drizzle hoping to beat the crowds moving towards parades in a couple of hours. No such luck. Within a block from the house we ran into a curious tribe of more than 100 marchers with halloweeney kinds of shirts, calling themselves “The Bones,” accompanied by clanging street signs, pots and pans, noise makers, and smoke bombs.

They went to Rampart and I continued on course on my normal route towards the Press Street railroad tracks, the dividing line between Bywater and Marigny. A straggler group of twenty or so ended up somehow behind me so it seemed as if Cheyenne and I were acting as Spy Boy for this crew. Reaching our old shotgun double, I saw my daughter, Dine’, in the living room and called her out for a look. She hipped me to the fact that the Bones were trying to revive an old Mardi Gras tradition in the African-American community of neighborhood marchers.

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