Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 1998

L’Observateur / February 11, 1998

The future of Carnival in the River Parishes may be in trouble. It’s easy tostand by the side of the roads and enjoy a parade, whether it’s the Krewe du Monde or Krewe of Lul or any school’s neighborhood parade. What ismuch more difficult is getting involved, making a commitment and doing the work to make sure there is a parade next year.

Many of the Carnival groups are made up of long-time or lifelong residents of the River Parishes. More newer residents are needed to get involved andhelp with the planning and the work involved in putting on this free show every year.

Mardi Gras is often called “the greatest free show on Earth.” Millionsenjoy it every year. However, there’s financial commitment, time, thoughtand talent involved to keep it creative, fresh and alive, year after year. Inthe River Parishes, where much more of a family atmosphere is to be found, more families need to become involved to make sure our local Carnival traditions continue and new traditions are developed.

If there are three things we at L’Observateur can hope for with our local Carnival organizations, they are: Continued success for our present groups, addition of more groups as our population grows and maintenance of the family quality of our local Carnival.

Every year people can walk along the parade routes, visit long time friends and neighbors, share memories, enjoy the experience and indulge in the joys of River Parishes living. Children run and play. Laughter is in the air.The air itself seems to sing.

Some people may talk about the economic benefits of Carnival, attracting tourism dollars and projecting the positive images of a family-grounded event such as this. Others, more pessimistic, talk about rising crime. Welike to think about the wonderful memories being created for the younger generation. Long after dusty newspaper files turn yellow and brittle withage, memories such as these will remain vital for many years to come.

Carnival in the River Parishes is not a time of overwhelming super- krewes with gigantic floats, armies of marching bands and Hollywood celebrities. Carnival here may be the senior citizens’ ball or a local danceteam with troops of 8-year-olds performing routines. It isn’t miles andmiles of walking, just to reach the parade route. Here, it’s right up thestreet or even in front of your own home. Instead of strangers high onfloats throwing over your head, it may be your own neighbors passing down a fistful of beads. It’s good times in hundreds of front yards and lotsof fun for the people involved in the krewes themselves.

We encourage new residents to not only enjoy our local Carnival parades and traditions and spectacles but to roll up your sleeves and get involved, either by working with the established organizations or by setting up new ones for the enjoyment of all.

Laissez le bon temps roulez may be the call of Mardi Gras, but “the good times” don’t come without cost.

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