The weather on Mardi Gras Day 2014 was very cold and rainy, and that was not what was expected considering that it was a March Mardi Gras, but we can look back on Mardi Gras 2014 as a success!
Since human nature seems to encourage more complaining than praise, it is important that we go out of our way to acknowledge the positive over the negative.
Every year there are complaints about behavior in the crowds and with some of the riders on the floats. As I hosted the WWL Mardi Gras Mambo Review yesterday afternoon, a caller complained about a group of young people that set up their temporary territory near his family and friends and vulgar music began to blare from their area. The man said the music was so offensive that he apologized to guests visiting from out-of-town and then moved his group to another location.
I can understand the man’s frustration and vulgarity in public is not a new controversy. I would never be accused of being a prude or overprotective of society, but I don’t think vulgar music should be tolerated in a public setting, like a Mardi Gras parade. But with great respect for the First Amendment, I admit that this is a difficult discussion.
While I would not judge what anyone listens to in their car or in the privacy of their home, we should all expect a show of respect for each other. Admittedly, that’s a lot to expect.
There were also the typical complaints about people along a parade route blocking others or even moving in front of those who had been in position for the parade for hours. Lacking respect for others is an annoying reality.
But when you consider the number of people in the streets for parades and in the French Quarter and compare the size of the crowd to the number of incidents that occur, you can’t help but have a positive impression of humanity.
The police and city workers do a phenomenal job every year during Mardi Gras, but if it were not for the attitude and the behavior of the crowds, in general, Mardi Gras would not be such an amazing celebration.
So, as we pay tribute to the long hours on the job and the competence of law enforcement and city workers, let us also give ourselves credit for coming together in massive numbers for the simple purpose of sharing a moment of fun during Mardi Gras. If the people of New Orleans and the surrounding areas who participate in Mardi Gras every year were not good, tolerate and respectful individuals, Mardi Gras would be chaos and would have ceased to exist long ago.
Every year there are those who come to New Orleans and experience Mardi Gras for the first time and without any lessons on what to do and how to act, even the first-timers quickly fit into our cultural mayhem! We must be setting a good example.
In spite of the countless displays of vulgarity and disrespect, Mardi Gras does teach us that we can come together as a community and bond over what we have in common – rather than think about what separates us.
I often talk about the “nature of news” on The Scoot Show on WWL – which is to focus on the negative and outrageous, even in the face of much that is positive and normal. The “nature of news” is determined by human nature. We are more prone to complain than to praise and the news reflects that human tendency.
The news is more likely to present the confrontations and the problems over the endless examples of goodness in a crowd. That’s why it is important for us to take a look into society’s mirror once in awhile and recognize the positives that far outnumber the negatives.
I hope you can reflect back on Mardi Gras this year, and every year, and appreciate the positive things it says about us and our community.