Can some one explain to me why Tampa is making such a big deal about Gasparilla Day. I think that they have Mardi Gras envy. They have floats, throws ,crowds. And costumes. No one can put a parade on like New Orleans can. The city lives for parades.
I use to love the Mardi Gras parades. They start weeks before the actual Mardi Gras day. I use to go to my Grandma's house on Terpsichore street and then walk the two blocks to St. Charles Avenue to watch the parades. My mother would put my long red braids
inside my coat so no creep would cut one braid. I have no idea who gave her that idea. We would all shout"'Throw me something Mister". That was what you said. There were no women, all of the float riders were masked men and costumed. In those days,there were
young men who sashayed in front of the floats carrying these long poles called flambeau's with some kind of material that lite up the floats. I cringed to say that these young men were all African Americans. They were like drum majors. High stepping,weaving.
The crowds loved them. The flambeau's were dangerous because the carriers could get burnt. That was the dark side of Mardi Gras. The riders on the float were all members of secret societies, and contributed mightily to have the honor of being in that club
and on that float. The parade ended at Municipal Auditorium where the riders had a ball with debutants ,A King and a Queen ,dancing and all kinds of pomp and circumstances. It was THE social event of the year for those members, and maybe of their life. If
you were the King, you were set for life both socially and even in business contacts. If you were just lucky,and knew someone in that club, you got an invitation to sit in the stands and watch.You were on the fringe, but you didn't belong. But this had nothing
to do with the fun I had catching beads and staying up late at my Grandma's house.