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Sunday, September 25, 2005

RETRACING STEPS

"One of the pleasantest things in the world is going on a journey..."
William Hazlitt 1778-1830 "On Going on a Journey"

Just as a traveller often enjoys returning to familiar haunts, retracing steps to places that have special memories, so the writer enjoys returning to reread passages, sometimes long-forgotten, tracing steps back in time to historical or imaginary places.

A week ago a fellow writer posted a blog about meandering the Asia-Minor coast to the ancient Lydian city of Sardis. This sparked a memory for me, about my own 'visit' to this city. It seems so long ago now, because it takes place in Part One of my novel "Shadow fo the Lion" so I was curious to return, to see if my descriptions matched his. It happens Scott and I are writing a similar period of history with some of the same characters and this has been an interesting connection. He's never been to Asia Minor (Turkey) or Greece so sometimes we exchange information about the sites. (He says he's 'travelling' to Assos now. I visited there back in the '80's so it brought all the memories of that trip back when he mentioned it.)

I've passed near by the site of ancient Sardis but haven't actually explored the ruins there. But from research and memories of the landscapes, I constructed a descriptive passage about the place. You can read Scott's at http://scottoden.blogspot.com Here's mine:

In this scene, General Perdikkas, Chiliarch of the Macedonian army since Alexander the Great's death in Babylon, is leading his army up the coast of Asia Minor from Ephesus. With
Perdikkas is one of the the titular kings, Alexander's half-wit brother Arridaios. At Ephesus there had been an attempt to kill Arridaios.

Perdikkas' army departed from Ephesus and the cool green coast, and turned inland toward the rugged landscape of Lydia. The curious pointed red-rock mounds of the Lydian hills loomed over the wind-swept plain where Lydian kings lay in their ancient tombs. At one time, in this wild country, girls were expected to earn their dowers by prostitution. Perdikkas thought grimly of how, because of his capricious night of passion with the flute girl, it almost cost Arridiaos his life. He berated himself for such a lack of discipline. The assassination attempt on the king had unnerved him. But how could he have known? And who had sent the temple maiden to poison Arridiaos? For surely Gazelle-Eyes was merely the innocent tool of someone far deadlier.

Ahead, on the knoll of a russet crag, the thick-walled citadel of Sardis towered against the cloudless sky. Flanked by a new guard composed of troops of Greek Argives sent from the garrison of Sardis, Perdikkas sat stiffly on his horse, his face set in a harsh scowl.

This city, the terminus of the eastern post road, had once been the headquarters of Persian administration. Ten years ago the Lydians had welcomed Alexander here, but they were capable of striking a bargain with the enemy just as readily as they had with the Macedonians. Would the assassin follow them here?

As the soldiers advanced up the steep roadway, a deep-throated rumble of excitement sounded throughout the ranks. Perdikkas scanned the ramparts and observed on every battlement the familiar blue pennants, the golden star-burst of Macedon, unfurled and dazzling in the sun.

A thunderous cheer rumbled down the rank. Perdikkas beamed, relishing this as an auspicious omen. For now, he would try to put the events of Ephesus behind him. His bride awaited him here at Sardis, the cornerstone of his future. Once the royal caravan arrived from Babylon, he would take charge of Alexander's son himself and consider the blood-price of the child's Soghdian mother.

Perdikkas' bride-to-be is Nikaia, daughter of Antipatros, the Regent of Macedon. She has arrived at Sardis recently to await her bridegroom.

She had arrived here to this fine house, given to her by her bridegroom, with only her personal servants and a small baggage train containing dowry gifts and wardrobes. It was her first time separated from her mother and sisters. She longed for news from home, but heard nothing, not even from her elder brother, Kassandros, who had gloated that now she was marrying Perdikkas, her children would inherit the Regency of Asia.

The house, whose terraces hugged the slope of the hill below the russet-walled fortress, had a tall portico of red Samian marble and walls with painted murals. It was more lavish than she was used to, but she felt wrenched from the homely comforts of a country home in Macedon where her father's horses ranged free on the grasslands and the air was scented with thyme and sage. She longed for the northern mountains with their black pine forests, and Pella's reedy lake. Here, from the portico, she viewed the stark buttress of the fortress walls, and on the summit of the hill, the pristine gilded columns of the small Temple of Zeus, built as an offering by Alexander when he had conquered the old city. In the parched fields below the acropolis, herds of sheep grazed along the bank of a brown, serpentine river. The city, which was three times as big as Pella, lay on the western slope, hidden from her view. Still, she felt like a kind of prisoner, and cursed her father for having sent her so far from home.

While I was making this return trip to Sardis, I decided to visit Ephesus too, and renew my acquaintance with Barsine, who is also featured in Scott's novel.

As the royal caravan entered Ephesus, through the western portals where the statues of lions guarded the gates, the woman, an aristocrat, dressed in a gold-bordered himation, alighted from her slave-borne litter with her young son, and climbed the high platform of the long, pillared stoa to view the approaching procession. She had come from her wealthy villa on the Hill of Nightingales, accompanied by her chamberlain and her child. It was a rare and unusual treat for them to venture alone into the city.

The boy, his fair cheeks flushed with excitement, held a basket of rose petals which he tossed in a fluttering shower into the path of the processional. He was a handsome child, immaculate in a spotless white chiton, his blonde curly hair adorned with a gold ribbon diadem. He was seven years old, and tall for his age.

He climbed the plinth of a statue to perch where he could easily see over the heads of the gathering ghrong. His mother watched admiringly, occasionally reaching up to straighten the folds of his garment or to stroke his shining hair.

The red-caped soldiers paraded by, marching to the cadence of the deep-toned aulos and drums,
standards unfurled, silver armour gleaming.

The boy began to cheer. "Look, Mama!" he cried eagerly. "See the cavalry!" He admired horses and could name all the breeds -- the tall, heavy-boned Nisaians of the Persians, the spirited steeds of Marakanda ridden by the Soghdian honour guard, the stocky, long-maned war stallions of Thessaly favoured by the Macedonian cavalry. He nearly emptied the basket of it contents, grinning in delight as the flower petals swirled around the horses' prancing hooves.

"One day I shall have a stallion like that one!" He pointed out a sleek honey-coloured Nisaian, its mane and tail woven with scarlet ribbons, the ornate jeweled headstall and harnesses jangling with golden bells. The handsome rider, a man of grave and noble bearing, rode before the imperial cortege. He was exquisitely garbed in garments of iridescent pearl like a dove's breast.

The woman drew her chamberlain aside and whispered something to him. She gazed long at the Persian rider as the cavalcade passed.

"Is he the king, Mama?" asked the boy. "Is he a friend of Grandfather? Do you know him?"
But his mother was quiet with her own thoughts.

Later, the woman, Barsine, sends for the Persian courtier, Nabarzanes, who is a Court advisor and Royal Cousin of Roxana, Alexander's Soghdian widow.

Barsine's house, built on the slope of the hill, had terraced gardens and a marble paved peristyle with an oval pool in the fountain court. The eunuch led Nabarzanes into an arched reception room furnished with a wealth of bronze, marble and ivory. There were statues of Artemis in the niches, and a floor mosaic of Apollo and the Muses.

As she woman stepped into the stream of lamplight between the pillars, Nabarzanes made a graceful genuflection and touched his forehead to the slender fingers of her outstretched hand.

"My esteemed Lady, Barsine. How pleasurable it is that we should meet again."

She clasped his hand in a gesture of friendship, a custom learned from her Greek husband. "Nabarzanes, how pleased I am that you have come. Have you been blessed, my friend, through all the years?"

Her height was almost equal to his, and as he gazed into her eyes, green-gold as pools reflecting sunlight, he felt a sudden nostalgia for Ekbatana's verdant mountains. He studied her pensively. She had kept her age well. Past forty now, she was a dignified woman, stylish in a Greek peplos and upswept hair.

"I am serving the royal household of Macedon now. And since the birth of Alexander's son, I have been appointed court advisor and governor of the child."

"You serve the Soghdian then?" A shadow crossed Barsine's fine-boned face. She withdrew her hand from his and studied him solemnly.

"I serve the son of Alexander," Nabarzanes said. He remembered how bitterly Barsine had wept beside the fountain court that night in Ekbatana when he had last seen her, the night they had learned of Alexander's marriage to Roxana.

Alexander would have done well to have married her instead of the Soghdian, he thought.

She led him to the privacy of the courtyard where tall lamps burned among urns of roses. She sat on the edge of the stone balustrade, her face turned into the shadows, hidden from him. The moon bathed her in a platinum light. After a long, meditative silence, she spoke.

"I have waited for you, my friend...for a man of your integrity and virtue...someone I could entrust with my cause. When I saw you ride by the with the royal caravan, I knew you had been sent by the Benevolent God. A long time has passed since we last spoke in Ekbatana. Seven years. A long, long time..." She drew in a long, shuddering breath. "There was something I could not tell you that night when you caught me weeping. " She looked up at him, her face pale in the moonlight. "I was pregnant with Alexander's child."

Nabarzanes was stunned by her revelation and could not find words of reply. Accustomed to more liberal Greek traditions, a woman twice married and widowed, Barsine did not follow the strict purdah of the Persian court, but her reputation was impeccable. While she had served as his mistress after her husband's death, after she had been taken captive with the Persian royal women, Alexander had treated her with deep respect and fondness. His abandonment of her had shocked the Persian court. And now she was exposing her shame.

"Did Alexander know?" Nabarzanes asked finally.

Barsine replied in a faint, trembling voice. "I believe he did, though I dared not tell him myself. He had the world to conquer, you see. He had no time to spare for fatherhood." She peered up at him with a wry little smile. "Father thought it best I leave Ekbatana before the gossip reached the Soghdian. We are all familiar with the vicious intrigues of the harem."

* * *
Sometimes the act of revisiting our writing, like returning to the familiar places where we once travelled, helps stimulate the memories, revives the spirit, recalls the Muse.
I'm ready to start working on the novel again after a few weeks of distraction. It felt good just rewriting these passages, recalling the characters who have become like old friends to me. And actually, now I am closer to the end of the novel, I'll be revisiting Barsine again too. I'm looking forward that that!
"Re-vision -- the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction --" Adrienne Rich 1929-
"On Lies, Secrets and Silence" 1970. "When We Dead Awaken."'













Tuesday, September 20, 2005

MAKING THE MOST OUT OF TIME

"The hours I spent with thee, dear heart,
Are as a string of pearls to me.
I count them over, every one apart,
My rosary, my rosary."
Robert Cameron Rogers 1862-1912 "The Rosary" 1894


"Time is of the essence" so the saying goes. And these days I'm trying to make the best of it. Without my computer I am 'lost', what to do after my housework is finished by 10 a.m.? What to do in the evenings when there isn't anything worthwhile to watch on TV? It's times like this that I realize how much time I actually spend at the computer. And right now, without it, I feel frustrated and a bit at loose ends. For one thing, just as it crashed (sick with a virus) I was ready to launch into some serious editing on the last chapter of my novel. There's also other writing projects to keep up-to-date, and of course, the email correspondence which I miss. I've had to resort to the local web cafe or library and perhaps by next week I'll actually have to try doing my writing here at the cafe if things aren't fixed by then. Today a techie friend is coming by to check and give a diagnosis. But it might mean lugging the precious machine to the computer hospital. Another unexpected expense!

A lot of my time these days is spent at the hospital with my friend. Yesterday I stayed six hours, cancelled going to my writer's critique group because he needed/wanted company. It was a pleasure though. These times we spend visiting, talking, and helping him out by warming meals, making tea, are precious moments. It's emotionally exhausting, but worthwhile. He's an intellectual and loves to discuss books and tell stories about his country (Chile) and his life. These days there's a lot of soul searching and meditations. And I know my company, especially on a day like yesterday where few other visitors came, was much appreciated.

Today I made a pleasant diversion by figuring out what to write here and doing some research for my future trip to Malaysia, so I have added a new chapter to my travel blog at http://travelthroughhistory.blogspot.com

I'm getting antsy, anxious to be working on my novel, but somehow I'll have that figured out soon. Meanwhile, another blessing came my way this morning just when things had been a bit bleak. The daycare sent me the two days pay they owed me and the government informed me my rental subsidy will be increased at the end of the month. Prayers do get answered!

"A little time for laughter
A little time to sing.
A little time to kiss and cling
And no more kissing after."

Philip Bourke Marston 1850 - 1887 "After" st.1

Thursday, September 15, 2005

GUARDIAN ANGELS

"Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way."
The Holy Bible: The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus: 23:20

One thing about living the writer's life is this: You have to be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices and learn to live on the edge. I always tell the students in my writing classes (especially travel journalism) "Don't quit your day job!" Because the truth is, until you get to be a best-selling author you are not going to make a lot of money out of writing. These days especially, free-lancing has become particularly grim and you're lucky if you get a measly $25 for a story. I've made up to $700 (including photos) but lately, the newspapers have formed their own little groups (umbrellas) and take very little free-lance material. So you're always on the look-out for new markets. And frankly, most of the internet markets don't pay much if anything.

I've managed to live a 95% writer's life for the last couple of years because I teach writing classes, though these are seasonal and I'm on 8 week contracts for them. Therefore I keep my name in one daycare which I sometimes work for, though over the past few months this has turned into a rare occasion. I don't teach during the summer other than the short four-week "Writing in the Park" memoirs group I did. So believe me, I am an expert at living on the edge. In fact, the past two months have been about as grim as they could get. My modest pension barely covers rent and utilities and any extra expenses quickly run the bank account dry. I've gotten used to not buying new clothes, carefully chosing where I shop for groceries, and scrimping wherever I can. It isn't always fun. I have no car but I have a bus pass which allows me free access around town and I walk whenever I can. Because of my low income I have a leisure pass that allows me free access to swimming pools.

When things happen like expected paycheques that dont materialize, and no calls to work, then I'm in a big fix. But thanks to my GUARDIAN ANGELS and very kind, generous friends, somehow I have managed to get by all summer, by the skin of my teeth.

In one respect, being home and not at work outside has given me more time for my writing. But that's the catch. No work. No money. And that's where the guardian angels have been so attentive, watching over me to make sure my needs are met. And they always are! From care packages of groceries to small loans, my friends have assissted me.

I'm sure my father is one of those Guardian Angels who are looking after me. Lately he's been very close, showing up in my dreams and always in my thoughts. And again today, there was 'help' when I needed it.

I went to pick up my pay and found it only covered one short day, not three as expected. What to do with the end of the month still almost 2 weeks away? I felt pretty close to tears, desparing over this endless plight of pennilessness. Decided to treat myself to lunch and think things over, say a few prayers, send some good thoughts to the cosmos.

Walking home down the Drive, along came a Guardian Angel (that lovely Frenchman whose smile lights up my world!) Had an inspiring, though short chat with him, then on down the Drive. Ran into my surrogate daughter/friend who I hadn't seen for ages. We went for coffee and a talk. Then, on the way down the street, we stopped to buy some autumn flowers to brighten up my apartment, and suddenly she slipped me $50. I was astonished! Such kindness. And now another friend has offered to loan me a bit more so I can pay my apartment insurance. See? The Guardian Angels are watching over me. I have a lot to be thankful for!

I thought my Memoir class was starting up today, but it was a mistake and not til next week and at that time my 3 night school classes also begin. So the end is in sight! Meanwhile I will concentrate on more writing. Have to fine-tune the last chapter segment of the novel and think about writing another travel article. After all, if you don't send things out to market you won't get any returns, no matter how small.

"When at night I go to sleep
Fourteen angels watch do keep..."


"Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby
some have entertained angels unawares."
The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews 13: 1-2

Monday, September 12, 2005

DREAMS AND DIVINATIONS

INITIATE: "I come from a virtuous people, oh pure Queen of Hades...for I believe I belong to your kind, but destiny struck me down...I broke free from the circle of pain and sorrow and I leapt lightly towards my chosen crown, I took refuge in the arms of the Lady, Queen of Hades."
THE GODDESS REPLIES: "Oh Fortunate One! Oh Blessed One! You have become a God, from the man you once were."
(Words which form the rites of initiation to the cult of Orpheus.)

I have been preoccupied lately with dreams and divinations mainly dreams regarding the illness of my friend. Last night I dreamt that I was visiting him in the hospital. I knew that my father was in a room down at the end of the long hall. I went to my father and urged him to go and speak to my friend, to say some words of comfort and encouragement. This is probably because on the weekend I found some sermon notes written by Dad in his old Bible. They were just the words I had wanted to say to A. last Friday when he was suffering so much pain. So I wrote them out...how soldiers are not made in the barracks ground, how, like the blacksmith forges from a piece of metal by fire and hammering, a strong horse-shoe...so we are made stronger by times of distress and tribulation.

In ancient Greek religion, dreams were under the control of the Olympian dieties. Gods and daemons were used for thepurpose of dream requests and in transmitting dreams. The moon goddess (Selene, Hecate) was active in both procedures and often a likeness of her was fashioned from a magic mixture of potter's clay, sulfur and the blood of a spotted goat.

"Now o'er the one half-world
Nature seeems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
the curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate's offerings."
William Shakespear (1564=1616) "Macbeth" Act II,l.49

The history of Alexander the Great is interwoven with his reliance on consulting the seers regarding dreams, occurances in the heavens and auguries of blood sacrifices. No vital decisions were made in the ancient world without consulting the Oracles first.

I've visited most of the major oracles in Greece, including the healing shrines where interpreting the patient's dreams was a vital part of the psycho-therapy: Delphi, Epidaurus, the Amphiarion, the Sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothraki, the sacred oak sanctuary of Zeus-Ammon at Dodoni, and the Necromanteion of Ayfa (the Oracle of the Dead) This Oracle existed from the Bronze Age. Odysseus visited it to conjur the ghost of Achilles. We can only speculate if Alexander ever went there for the same reason, but undoubtedly his mother Olympias did because it is located in her domain of Epirus. An article I wrote about visiting this Oracle has been published and is on-line
at www.http://travel-wise.com (Titled "Sailing to Hades")

"The soul, at the moment of death, feels the same impression as those who are initiated into the Great Mysteries. First it is like being lost on a long, winding walk through eerie darkness, then just before the end, the terror, the cold sweat, the horror are at their greatest. At once, a marvelous light appears to the eyes: we pass into a green meadow where singing is heard."
Themistius: "Religious chants to Persephone."


A long time ago I started recording my own significant dreams, a way of analyzing my life and figuring out what the dreams meant. My reoccuring dreams of tidal waves usually indicate that I'm stressed and overwhelmed by events; frightening nightmares are also stress related (though I've found that ceating choclate late at night is also a culprit.) Dreams of flying are usually carefree and celebrate a sense of 'freedom'.

Should our characters dream? In my novel "Shadow of the Lion", because dream analysis and auguries were a way of life in ancient times, I have sometimes used dreams as a way of enhancing the characters and events. And a couple of times I have used my own dreams as my characters'. (Or was I, in my dream, becoming my character?)

A big mistake in fiction is to allow your plot to be influenced by dreams. Except in some kinds of fantasy or sci-fi, where dreams are part of either magic or alternate science, dreams shouldn't be used as character motivation, climax or resolution. (Don't ever end a story with "And then he/she woke up"!) It will be contrived too, if your character doesn't know a piece of vital knowlege until it is revealed in a dream.

The use of dreams in fiction is to illuminate character, so simply recount the dream as the character has it, especially if that character is under great pressure. A short dream, mentioned in passing, can hint at complex emotions underneath. Some dreams, if used subtly, may also be symbolisms. Just so, daydreams can be used along with internal thought to tell your reader more about your characters. Your characters dreams and daydreams say a lot about them. Use them to see just who your characters truly are.

"Then be thou jocund. Ere the bat hath flown
His cloister'd flight, ere, to black Hecate's
summons
The shard-borne betetle with his drowsy hums
Hath run night's yawning peal, there shall be
done
a deed of dreadful note."

William Shakespeare "Macbeth" Act III, l.40

SWEET DREAMS!

Friday, September 02, 2005

ELEGY TO A CITY

"Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city, lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and
the best
Have gone to their eternal rest."
Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849 "The City In the Sea" 1831 st. 1

Such a tragedy, this horrifying destruction of beautiful New Orleans and the terrible anguish facing Her people. I have felt heartsick as I've watched and read the news reports of this horrendous event. New Orleans was always a city of my dreams, a place I'd wanted to visit since my teens. Perhaps I first got the yen to visit after seeing the stage production (and later the movie) of A Streetcar Named Desire. Perhaps it was later, when I first started listening to jazz and blues music and learned of its southern roots. (Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino and all those great musicians!) But it wasn't until 1994 when my dream was realized.

My friend Sylvie and I decided to go to the Mardis Gras. What an experience! Certainly that will never be forgotten. It made me want to see more of New Orleans. I've always wanted to go back sometime in the Spring when the magnolias were in bloom. Now, to see it all destroyed is so heartbreaking!

I was leafing through my travel writing portfolio the other day and ran across the articles I wrote about my visit to New Orleans. So as a tribute to this wonderful old city, and the exceptionally warm and friendly people I'd met there, I will include here some parts of my articles as a tribute to the City.

Like a rich, savory gumbo, spiced with just the right combination of ingredients, New Orleans is a feast for all senses. From hot cuisine to cool jazz, as the refrain goes: "You'll know what it means to miss New Orleans" once you've experienced this unique city.

Seasoned with a blend of history, charm and joie de vivre, this genteel 280 year old metropolis, cradled in a bend of the Mississippi River, is a city where you can lose yourself in time. As you stroll under the ornate wrought iron balconies of the French Quarter or meander on the manicured lawns of gracious colonial estates, its a rare opportunity to see and experience the Southern way of life.

Since the days when the fabled pirates Jean and Pierre Lafitte haunted Bourbon Street, New Orleans has had the reputation of being one of the most dangerous cities in America. But don't let this intimidate you, because it is equally renown for its southern hospitality. People are friendly here, and you can get a conversation started instantly by talking about cooking, food or music.

In New Orleans, there's music everywhere: blues, jazz, lively Cajun two-step. Bourbon Street is famous for its jazz clubs. Busker entertain on every street corner while little boys tap-dance on the curb. You can sing along with a banjo player strumming on the wharf, or watch a junior version of Louis Armstrong, a boy not more than ten years old, wailing on a trumpet in Jackson Square. In this bold, decadent city, a host of famous musicians had their start. In "N'awlins" Perservation Hall, Dixiland jazz was born.

I wonder what has become of the many beautiful colonial plantation houses near the city. I know some of them were close to the levees.

If you want a touch of the romantic south, visit the plantation homes near New Orleans. While sipping on a mint julep under the oaks of Oak Alley, you cannot help but find yourself transported into the world of Scarlet O'Hara and Rhett Butler. As you look out on the green lawns and gracious Greek Revival architecture of the manor, you are offered a clear view of the past.

So much history has been destroyed and can never be replaced even if they do rebuild the city.
And what about the bayous where the Cajuns have lived since the 1800's.

The boat glides down the narrow channels where egret, blue heron and water fowl nest among the red swamp maples. Grey-green tufts of Spanish moss hang from the ciypress trees. Snapping turtles sun themsleves on the mud banks. These turtles, which grow to an immense size, can sanp off a stick with their jaws.

Poisonous snakes such as the copper head and water-moccasin lurk in the moss and the root systems of the trees making it a dangerous occupation for the Cajun folk who pick the Spanish moss for sale to florists.

In spring and summer, water hyacinths cover the murkey surface of these forboding waterways concealing the deadly alligators which the guide and his father hunt.

Of course, it's also hard to imagine a year passing by in New Orleans without the traditional Mardis Gras when more than two million people jam into the French Quarter to celebrate.

New Orlean's grandest celebration, Mardis Gras, was brought to New Orleans from Europe in 1870. Carnival is a mystical combination of Christian beliefs, pagan rituals, glamour and debauchery that begins twelve days after Christmas when Balls are held, hosted by the carnival "krewes" to choose the King and Queen of "misrule."

There are things you will see in New Orleans during Mardis Gras that you will never experience anywhere else. The balconies of the French Quarter are hung with purple, yellow and green streamers and flags, the Mardis Gras colors. The streets literally run with beer and are ankle deep with rubbish and discarded plastic cups. Anything goes during Mardis Gras, and the New Orleans police, who are visible everywhere, are tolerant and polite but very firm in enforcing the law if necessary.

The parade floats, lavishly decorated with feathers, flowers and stereamers of vibrant hues are manned by the masked and costumed krewes and carry guest celebrities. A freezing gale howls down St. Charles Street but fails to chill the enthusiasm of the revelers.

But Mardis gras is just one day and by midnight the party is over. New Orleans mounted policemen sweep through the French Quarter followed by the street cleaners who wipe away all traces of Carnival for another year. By morning the streets of Vieux Carre are spotless and the crowds of merrymakers have gone. You can once again enjoy New Orleans in all its elegance.

I wonder if we ever will again!

"We have come over a way that with tears has
been watered
We have come, treading our path through the
blood of the slaughtered."
John Weldon Johnson 1871-1938 "Lift Every Voice and Sing" 1900 st. 2