We walked a mile in high heels, even Grandma Joan did. I was at the tail end of the line, behind the 5 piece marching band, behind the two guys pushing shopping carts full of cold beer, and the guests with parasols and lace kerchiefs and strings of white beads. We all marched and laughed and cheered and then marveled and commented on how amazing it was, having the experience and then reflecting on it in 10- second intervals. People stood in their doorways, or on their porch, waving to us and cheering us on. Police cars led the way and stopped traffic at intersections so we could all get through together. Parades happen every single day in New Orleans and everyone supports them. Who can carry on with their own self-absorbed business when a line of celebrating people walks by right in front of you? You have to stop, so you might as well give it a nod and a wave.
I couldn’t see Morgan and Ryan from where I walked, but we were all their representatives. In the line were friends from childhood and then college, kids they had taken baths with, fought with, sat in math class with. There were family and friends of family, all who had packed clothes for three days and gotten on a plane or train or bus just to be there for them. We were a crazy crew, tiny and tall, young and old, civilized and lawless, doctors, actors, teachers, soldiers, architects, writers, salesmen. And we all felt lucky.
“Is it a wedding or a funeral”, someone hollered out. I loved that they couldn’t tell the difference, both ceremonies celebrated with the same enthusiasm. This is how they do it in New Orleans.