Your e-mails: Too soon to party?
(CNN) -- Is it too soon for a city devastated by Hurricane Katrina to hold a party? CNN.com asked readers to share their views. Here is a selection of some responses that said it is proper to hold Mardi Gras this year. Some of the responses have been edited.
I returned to my flooded New Orleans home on September 27 and last night, while riding in the Krewe of Muses parade, I felt the best I have felt in six months. We need this. The people on the floats need this. It was nice to replace the smell of mold and the sound of pressure washers with the excitement of Mardi Gras. We have had a difficult year and we deserve the pleasure we get from Mardi Gras. I feel for those who have not returned. But they need to understand - it has been much harder to be here, working as hard as we have had to to rebuild this city and we personally pay for Mardi Gras - not the government. It is something we do well and we will keep doing it forever. Thank God!
I was born and raised in New Orleans and will always have her in my blood and in my soul. No one tells a native New Orleanian they can't have Mardi Gras! That's the spirit of New Orleans that has got her through the French, the Spanish, the British, and every other event that has tried to keep her down. The people of New Orleans will rise above what has happened, because that's who they are. That's what makes them different and keeps their spirits alive. Don't tell us we can't have Mardi Gras. The people of New Orleans need Mardi Gras at this difficult time in her history. "Let the good times roll."
"We celebrate life, we mourn the past, we shall never forget." This was the theme of my krewe's (Muses) last riderless float, and says it all. Just as families gather to share food and laughter after the funeral of the death of a loved one, our city needs to gather, share, and mourn together. That is what we are doing. It is time for us to do so, and we invite you to stand with us and support us, just as you did for NYC after 9/11, as the city gathered at the Macy's parade, football games, and other public events.
My hope is that Mardi Gras can help New Orleans recapture the vibrancy that this struggling city once had. Financially, they can't afford for some other city to take Mardi Gras from them. They need the money that the revelers bring to begin to rebuild their infrastructure. My heart breaks for the ongoing suffering that New Orleans and the people scattered throughout the country are going through, but the best way to end that is to start again. Mardi Gras is the best way to do that.
I have been to New Orleans three different times over the past four months on disaster relief trips. I can tell you that New Orleans deserves and needs this Mardi Gras. While there is still much sadness and destruction, the people there really need some normalcy about life. Who would have ever figured you could call Mardi Gras normal?
We need to try to establish a sense of normalcy to our lives. Right now trauma is normal. Mardi Gras reminds us of what used to be normal. If we can escape from the trauma which is our current sense of being for a little while and get a glimpse not only of what used to be normal for us, but what can be normal for us again, then I think this will help those of us living through this heal and help us to return to something that is once again a healthy state of living.
I have relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, after Hurricane Katrina and have been here since November. I am so very glad to see that Mardi Gras is attempting to go on as usual. For those folks who have decided to remain in that area, this annual event is the one thing they truly need to feel a sense of normalcy in an otherwise living nightmare we have all experienced post-hurricanes. I even ordered a Mardi Gras King Cake for my office here in Phoenix to keep up with tradition! I am missing the parades and bead catching, though.
It is completely annoying to even think that there is a question of this sort! For New Orleans and the surrounding areas, Mardi Gras is a tradition. It has been around for God knows how long. Us people down here don't really have anything else to look forward to. Then yet, to get people's sprits back in their community and make them feel like they did in the old times is a great idea! Mardi Gras is a major deal down here, and it will continue as planned whether anyone likes it or not!
New Orleans must have Mardi Gras. As someone said, "Would you cancel Christmas?" I live in Lafayette, two hours north of New Orleans. We have a wonderful Mardi Gras and are expecting larger crowds because of people not being able to get to New Orleans this year. That's okay. But New Orleans must, and will, come back to life and it has to have Mardi Gras to do it. It is painful knowing that so many have been hurt and are still hurting, but we have to move on and Mardi Gras is part of our rebirth. Mardi Gras, like New Orleans, will never die!
As a kid growing up in the New Orleans area, Mardi Gras was always fun. As a teenager, it was a way to forget what was happening around us and enjoy the celebrations. I still have family in the area and I feel this is a way for the area to forget their troubles for a little while, relax some, and a chance to bring some much need revenue back to the area.
I lived in New Orleans for 30 years. My husband was born there and lived there for 56 years. We feel that Mardi Gras should go on. It is in the spirit of south Louisiana never to let "the turkeys get you down" and to celebrate at the drop of a hat even if there is just rice and red beans in the pot!
As a native New Yorker I remember the same type of feeling after 9/11, although the situation was much different, since the city as a whole was not devastated. For a few days after, I remember feeling unable to go anywhere not related to the disaster and had a hard time even laughing. On top of it I was now out of work, making matters much worse for me. Then one night, a week or two later, a friend called to have a gathering and I caught myself cracking a joke on the phone. Already a little iffy on having a gathering so soon after, she said something about how it was great someone else thought it was OK to crack a joke. My point is that eventually you have to start doing things that don't have to do with the cleanup and healing. It's necessary and cathartic to start life again, and sometimes that process can be painful. That night I went to my friend's place and spent some time laughing and talking about things besides 9/11. Did it change my situation? Of course not, but it was a necessary step to begin getting on with my life. New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast needs to do things specifically not part of the rebuilding process in order to move on.
In 1992, I lived in Miami and watched Hurricane Andrew destroy my hometown and surrounding cities. I lived in Kendall -- very close to where the eye of the storm passed. Rebuilding is what must be done, but celebrating and celebrating life should be always done on a daily, if not minute-by-minute basis. If the city can support the event, even on a small basis, I support having Mardi Gras to keep the spirit going. To the people of New Orleans and the surrounding areas, continue to celebrate life through Mardi Gras. Life is nothing without family and celebration.
It is not too soon. Mardi Gras is the quintessential celebration and represents the spirit and joie de vivre of New Orleans!
I think Mardi Gras must definitely be held. To not hold Mardi Gras would be like taking away Christmas from children and would be erasing the area's history, and that's the last thing we need to do to these folks. I do realize some are being evicted from the hotels there to make room for tourists, however, this will also generate income for the city to support their people who are in desperate need. But the show definitely must go on in New Orleans and elsewhere. I know we'll be celebrating Mardi Gras here in California.
Just how, specifically, is New Orleans supposed to pay to "help all its people" if it doesn't hold Mardi Gras and similar events? It is estimated that this Mardi Gras will mean $200 million in business to the stricken city. Beyond the "we need to move on and show our spirit" mentality, which I applaud, there is the real fact that New Orleans needs Mardi Gras more than ever now. Besides, if a few thousand revelers get a hard look at what the rest of the city looks like, maybe they will share their stories and help keep Katrina and its devastation alive among the American public. Vive Mardi Gras! Vive Nouvelle Orleans!
Silly question to ask the public, as this is for the residents of New Orleans to decide. Not that it would be much of a decision! Given what I know of the nature of that community, the festivities will (and must) go on! Now somebody throw me some beads!
The city of New Orleans has suffered so much in the past few months. To deny its residents a celebration that is synonymous with the city would be nothing less than an admittance of defeat. Holding the Mardi Gras festivities and welcoming the joy and revelry that comes with it can be cathartic, and when successful, will help empower the residents of the city in a time of despair.
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