Maybe part of the reason some Americans are having difficulty coming on board with doing more and more for the City of New Orleans is that its priorities seem to be a little out of whack. The latest evidence is the insistance of those in the city that Mardi Gras should go on as it does every year.
The official start of Mardi Gras is scheduled for next Saturday. No corporation has come up with the $2 million offered by the city for naming rights to Mardi Gras. Glad Products, the trash bag maker, has said it will contribute an unspecified six-figure donation and a gift of 100,000 trash bags.
So, if additional corporate sponsors do not come forward, the city will be responsible to pay for the celebration out of a non-existent treasury. "Yes, it will be a challenge for us to come up with money, but this is a tourist economy, and we need to have it," said Ernest Collins, the city's director of arts and entertainment. Have what, Mr. Collins? The parade season has been cut to 8 days down from the typical 12, participation of krewes (social clubs) that build and ride on the elaborate floats is down.
Mardi Gras has been cancelled 13 times in the past. The election of the city's mayor was postponed until May. How much tourism will really benefit the coffers of the city? The hotels and restaurants are not fully opened and staffed. Just having a bunch of drunks in the French Quarter is not really what the celebration of Mardi Gras is all about. Most tourists older than college age expect more of the city.
- "Some people develop a wishbone where their backbone should be." - unknown