Saturday, February 18, 2006

Laisser Les Bons Temps Rouler!

Or, as they say in New Orleans, “Let The Good Times Roll.” Mardi Gras kicks off today and Potemkin would have loved it. Back in the 18th century, a very greedy guy named Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin decided to get rich by getting close to Russia’s Queen Catherine. Potemkin managed to get very close to the Tsarina. He gave her a good shag whenever she was in the mood. According to history, Catherine was in the mood a lot. (As Catherine liked to say, “I’m not prone to argue.”)

Catherine also liked to travel around Russia to see her empire and give the chamber maids a chance to change the sheets back at the Kremlin. So Potemkin also worked pretty hard to convince Catherine that Russia was full of happy peasants. Whenever they went on a tour, Grigori made sure the villages were decked out with false fronts like the fake main streets on a Warner Brothers’ backlot. After all, if everything looked all right, Greg could get back to bonking the queen and counting his cash. The creative concept of the Potemkin Village was born.

This year’s Mardi Gras theme is “New Orleans is back!”, and it should be quite a party. 6.3 million cubic yards of waste material has been cleared from the Crescent City. That’s almost as much material as Dick Cheney’s hunting accident produced for every comedian in the US. Unfortunately, there are still about 50 million cubic yards remaining; but with enough bourbon and wet t-shirt contests, the 30% of the local peasants who still live in New Orleans should look as happy as the visitors.

Of course the festivities this year will be somewhat limited. The party will last 8 days instead of the usual 12. There are fewer hotel rooms available for party goers since a lot of them are being used by insurance adjusters and government burocrats. Their job is to make sure that the local peasants don’t get too happy. Six of the city’s parade clubs will be missing and there won’t be as many floats. (The Federal Emergency Management Agency did buy 22,693 new floats at a cost of $1.34 billion but unfortunately they will not be available for this year’s Mardi Gras. In hindsight, storing them in the Florida Everglades was not a good idea.)

Thoughtfully, the US Congress has produced enough speeches and investigative reports to provide non-stop confetti for the entire 8 days. Since the reports document the failure of government at all levels, it’s probably a good idea to turn them into confetti. That way people won’t be asking, “Whose fault is it that all this toxic sludge is still covering half of the city?” They’ll be saying, “Wow, where did of all this neat confetti come from?” Keeping the peasants happy is a complicated job.

So the Big Easy, (or at least the part of it that does not look like Hiroshima in 1945), is back. For now, the Crescent City is pretty much one big Potemkin Village; but the party is on and the jazz will ring out. Perhaps the city, state, and federal clowns and crooks that blew it before, during, and after Katrina will learn a few lines from that old jazz standard, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? It’s probably too much to ask that they all join in a chorus of Who’s Sorry Now?.

After all, they are busy counting all that money in the recovery budget and shagging the taxpayers. Grigori Aleksandrovich would be proud of them.


Blogger Dr.John said...

This was a great blog. You have a knack for saying the truth in a very funny way. If what you said wasn't so true I would have laughed a lot but at least it kept me as a tax payer from crying. I also decided not to go to New Orleans since the really good stuff is in the Everglades.

8:43 AM  
Anonymous toast99 said...


11:13 AM  
Blogger Jorge said...

I wonder if the same cleaning crews that took care of the 6 million cubic yards of waste before Mardi Gras will be in front of the post-Mardi Gras cleaning operation. Estimates are about 5 million cubic yards of waste(d tourists).

3:50 PM  
Blogger Ananke said...

The fact that they're even having Mardi Gras this year amazes me. But I guess no one wants to give up a good chance to party, right? ;-)

7:00 PM  
Blogger siren said...

Oh, so true. Everyone puts on a smiling face and continues to skirt the real issues that plagued the city, even before Katrina. Beads are not the answer :)

7:13 PM  
Blogger Useless Man said...

People keep throwing beads at me. I think they want to see my breasts. I don't think they know I'm a man...

3:48 PM  

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