Mmm, Mardi Gras is… delicious! I can’t help but post about this today since Fat Tuesday is a couple days away and we’ve already dined on red beans and rice and king cake. St. Louis, where we live now, is actually thought to have the second biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S., but my history with New Orleans goes way back to when I was just married, lived in Florida and watched Justin Wilson cooking his Cajun magic on TV – “I gar-on-tee” dis will be delicious wit a little wine, lak so (sip, sip). Using a basic Southern Living cookbook, I made seafood gumbo for some new friends from New Orleans and it turned out fabulous. We were hooked on Cajun. Never been to the big Mardi Gras, only the Jazz Festival, but loved our jump-up-and-go trips to the Big Easy, b.k. (before kids), where we ate our way through town.
We have taken the kids to the St. Louis Mardi Gras parade a couple times, to the Krewe of Barkus pet parade and the wiener dog races once. We went to the tail end of the parade route, right by Anheuser Busch (now In-Bev) where the crowd was much smaller and the debauchery almost nonexistent (a bit of drunken swearing). Best part about having little kids at the end of the line is the colorful folks on the floats throw all the leftover beads to them – the girls were happily covered with cheap sparkling necklaces! The photos remind me of all my favorite New Orleans memories.
Linda O. commented on my last post (on important photos) that “the best pictures can evoke an essay.” While a memoir is a big story of a certain timeframe, lifewriting is much easier to do – write your short stories and include a photo that goes along with it. Some like to do this in a scrapbook, which means there is only one copy unless you do it the new digital (online) way to share, but I’d suggest collecting the stories and photos and putting them into a booklet that any copy shop can whip up for you. If you want to get serious, upload to LuLu.com for a real paperback or hardcover version. They may only be in black & white, but I gar-on-tee you will be delighted!
Whatever you do, don’t leave the stories stuck in your head or the photos forgotten in your computer. I love digital cameras, but I think too often the pictures get loaded onto the computer and nobody looks at them again. I have a number of photo albums, the later ones including scrapbook-style entries of 4×6 collage or cutouts, because I’m not ready to start a big scrapbooking hobby – yet. I love looking through these albums of fond memories. The girls have enjoyed looking through them with their friends and especially love seeing their baby and toddler pictures. In the albums, I write comments and dates. No, none of us scrolls through the digital files on my laptop or looks at the CDs I’ve copied photos to. And while e-books may be the latest rage, they are not the ideal medium for collections of photos with stories, at least not yet. Think print.