Mardi Gras Hangover

Mardi Gras. It came, it paraded, it partied, and it conquered. And while I feel barely alive now that it's all over, I also definitely feel like I live in New Orleans more than ever before. Somehow I became more New Orleanian this year than in prior years. Give me another year and I will have joined a Mardi Gras krewe. This is the first year we really costumed for Mardi Gras, the first year I blocked out whole weeks and weekends for specific parades, and the first year I am giving up something really serious for Lent. That is: most food. More on that later.

I know I've said this before, but in New Orleans, Mardi Gras isn't just a day, it's an entire season, and it lasts in some form or another for well over a month. The last 2 or 3 weeks of the season really turn up the volume, and the final five days are enough to make you pass out from festival insanity. There are wigs, and king cakes, and crawfish boils, and parade route Popeye's chicken parties, and frantic screaming for trinkets and throws, and an enormous amount of masking, costuming, wigging out. Pretty much glitter is everywhere. It's basically a near constant cycle of eat (king cake), scream (for parade throws), craft (costumes and headpieces), dance (to marching and brass bands in the street), sleep (however little), repeat. For MANY people this also involves lots and lots of drinking. Not for me, but respect. Anyway, point is, after the anticipation and general experience of revelry finally passes, you might wind up a total mess. Hello, ME.

And that brings us up to date with where I am at the current moment. This year, I decided to give up basically every food for Lent. Lent, for you non-catholics/people who don't live in New Orleans, is the 40 day period of penance following Mardi Gras. In some ways, Mardi Gras is the massive pre-game capper to a season of pre-Lent partying. To clarify: Mardi Gras is the final day before Lent to get every single ya-ya out. It's the party to end all parties day to really blow out every bad, but fun/unhealthy/wasteful/insane thing/habit/activity in expectation of the Lenten penance that follows. It's kind of like when you're about to go on a diet, and so you eat all the pizza and all the brownies in the days before. And yes, I might have done that before my 40 day raw fruit and vegetable bell tolled.

Ash Wednesday, no I'm not Catholic, just trying to lock in this diet thing.

Ash Wednesday, no I'm not Catholic, just trying to lock in this diet thing.

So now, post Mardi Gras, one week into the Lenten season I have the following:

  1. The seemingly gargantuan task of eating 40 days of raw fruit and vegetables (with a few nuts/cooked vegetables/healthy oils thrown in to smooth the way a little).
  2. To figure out how the hell to cook for my blog without just showing you pictures of cut up cucumbers. 
  3. A serious hangover - not the booze kind, the OHMYGODIMSOTIRED kind. Like, really I just want to lay in bed and do nothing kind.
  4. A smattering of Carnival distraction flavored guilt hanging around from the weeks when I just couldn't get anything done for the blog/Instagram feed/faceplace.
  5. A new job.

What was that last thing? I took a part time job at an amazing family owned mask store in the French Quarter. We sell handmade leather and paper maché masks, and Mardi Gras and Halloween are the busiest times of year so they hired me on as holiday help. Turns out it it was a really good fit, so they're keeping me around. It's actually really nice to have a reason to get out of the house, but it's also definitely a GIANT adjustment trying to interact with the outside world more/build a schedule around something else besides my own whims and health needs.

Speaking of my health, my weird mystery illness is what made me decide to try this raw diet. I started on March 1st, and I'm actually really enjoying how it's making me feel, though smelling charcoal grilling of any kind, or sautéed onions is still a challenge. I'm not sure how much we've actually talked about my weirdo mystery illness, but for a couple of years I have been struggling with what I thought was adrenal fatigue, and now think maybe is chronic fatigue. The upshot is my glandular system seems to be on strike, I've experienced a lot of exhaustion, a good dose of premature aging, and a whole lot of weight gain of of the blue.

So, here's to hoping I can continue to remain consistent with the goal of sharing cooking and pictures with you in spite of the totally weird circumstances I'm finding myself in. For good measure, here are some other things I'm trying to do for Lent, AKA the real New Orleans New Year's Resolution:

  • improve my fancy handwriting.
  • write more handwritten letters.
  • drink 100 ounces of water/day instead of 64 (currently at about 72 oz).
  • figure out a nice PM health/self care ritual.

PS. Hubs and I went to Mardi Gras as "Mardi Gras mourning." It was, I think, probably our first really successful couples costume. Married life kind of demands you do that, which is weird to me, but hey I love my husband, so I can get into it for him.


St. Cecelia Krewe, Mardi Gras 2017

Emily MarshallComment