Midwest Mardi Gras in the Making

Weekends from early-January until Fat Tuesday (this year on February 17th) the neighborhood comes alive with fun-filled band rehearsals for the annual very “outside the French Quarter” Mardi Gras parade in Lawrence, Kansas. New Orleans expats, now mid-westerners, Mike and Katie fill their house with friends and friends of friends to teach them traditional blues and Dixieland tunes. Everyone – musician or not – picks up an instrument, a noise maker, or simply claps and dances as the house shakes and the joy of being alive and being with friends fills the room. Come rain or shine – or snow – the costumed, instrument toting, high spirited Mardi Gras paraders will snake their way up and down Massachusetts Street – through stores, boutiques and restaurants with zest and vigor, if not perfect pitch.

Katie tries out a trombone
Katie tries out a trombone