Feb. 25 was Mardi Gras. This year, I strolled the city in a blue Hawaiian T-shirt. From one of the birthplaces of jazz, the Treme, into the Marigny neighborhood where throngs dressed like gurus, wood nymphs and characters from the film “White Men Can’t Jump” drinking, dancing, singing.
Like everyone else, I brushed up against countless bodies. I shook hands as I ran into people I knew. I hugged people I don’t even know. It was glorious. It was the essence of Carnival season; the city at its both decadent and redemptive best.
This, now, all looks like a terrible idea.
Some people are giving New Orleans a hard time about partying a month ago. But Louisiana didn’t yet have a single confirmed case of the new coronavirus then. Neither local nor federal health officials had a problem with letting the good times roll. These days, though, we’re all shut-ins, nervously ticking off our last possible exposure to the virus in our heads. Avoiding friends because we love them.