Tuesday, February 20, 2007


There’s an old saying New Orleanians use on Mardi Gras: everywhere else, it’s just Tuesday. The reality of that struck home today because for the first time in my life, I had to go to work on Fat Tuesday.

Leaving what was our home for a lifetime was easy in so many ways, and difficult in others. We left behind an environmental mess and substandard services (a prime factor in our decision). We left behind the ingrained laissez faire attitude of a people that manages to be both charming and maddening at the same time.

Most of what we loved, we brought with us: the food, the music (albeit not as readily available), and the cultural difference that defines New Orleans that lives deep within the soul. But dammit, it’s hard to really celebrate Mardi Gras without being on St. Charles Avenue holding our hands up for trinkets that soon get thrown into the attic and forgotten.

We managed to score a little King Cake, but it’s not the same when we’re eating it in a “foreign land,” even one we’ve come to love. I just feel guilty about breaking my diet (not that it stops me any more here than it did in New Orleans).

The fact is, we’ve left New Orleans for good, but New Orleans will never leave us.

All day long, I’ve found myself humming “If Ever I Cease to Love,” the 19th Century novelty song that improbably came to be the official anthem of Mardi Gras. All of a sudden, the song’s lyrics that always seemed insanely silly now make sense.
May the fish get legs and the cows lay eggs
If ever I cease to love
May all dogs wag their tails in front
If ever I cease to love

If ever I cease to love
If ever I cease to love
May the moon be turned to green cream cheese
If ever I cease to love
Sometimes love can be awfully silly, and it makes no logical sense. And anyone who has ever lived in New Orleans can tell you, love for that place won’t cease.


Blogger Unknown said...

Nice post. New Orleans never leaves anyone once she touches your soul.
"May the Grand Duke Alexis ride a buffalo in Texas, if ever I cease to love."

2/20/07, 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.
I have been searching for the ultimate New Orleans summertime treat - a real snowball. Very hard to locate in my new home - Houston. My ears perk up when I am lucky enough to come across someone with that unique - only in New Orleans - accent. How I long for the sweet rememberances but how wonderful to be away fromthe weights that hold down such a wonderful place. How lucky are we who have had the opportunity to have experienced the sweet side of life.

7/12/07, 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post very much. I've lived away from New Orleans for a little over 20 years, but it is a place that is like no other; New Orleans gets in your soul and you experience New Orleans, rather than simply visit it. And once it does get into your soul, it's there for life!
It's the pre-Katrina New Orleans that I miss so very much and this time of year, I, too, find myself humming "If Ever I Cease To Love." As a child I could not wait untilo midnight on Fat Tuesday so that I could watch The Meeting of the Courts on television and I still miss not being able to watch it.
Thank you for bringing back some of those sweet memories I have for my hometown.

2/2/08, 7:26 AM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

Ah yes, the Meeting of the Courts: something that would only make "sense" in the world of New Orleans Mardi Gras.

This post's been up for almost a year, but it's still getting a lot of visits. Most of them have been lately, with the approach of Fat Tuesday, but as the snowball comment (and how I miss a true New Orleans snowball in the summer) from July shows, the longing for the uniqueness of the Crescent City is a constant.

We have built a fine new life in a wonderful place we love. But we will always be New Orleanians.

2/2/08, 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this blog while searching for the quote "if ever I cease to love" which is inscribed on a fleur de lis bracelet given to me by my son on this Mother's day 2008. He has recently located to New Orleans to live with his fiance (8 hours from his home). I have visited NOLA many times-before his relationship with a "cajun girl" and after- and have always felt a certain draw to the city. Perhaps I have unfinished business from a previous life? (but that's for another blog, ha). Don't lose faith in this fair city. She is stronger than you know. She will persevere. Long live the Cresent City!

5/11/08, 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh...funny. I arrived on your blog because I too was humming the tune "if ever I cease to love" and was looking for it on-line. The song is so infectious, and I can't get it out of my head! What's worse, is that I'm at work right now, and am thinking of St. Charles Ave on Mardi Gras...suffering through the sobering experience of NOT being there right now...

6/17/08, 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just writing to my old roomie, who still lives in NOLA, about how I made a king cake from refrigerated cinnamon buns ... how pathetic is that?! It was not so bad and waaaayy easier than making from scratch, but it was far from the real thing. I was looking for that song "If Ever I Cease to Love" b/c it's in a kids' Mardi Gras book my husband read to our 5-year-old last night. I really don't remember hearing that song much and don't particularly know the tune. What cracked me up is when he got to that part, he subsituted the Tulane Fight Song!

1/30/09, 9:22 AM  

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