You’ve been outspoken about the importance of Mardi Gras. Who is criticizing Carnival? I’ve not heard a lot of naysaying within the city (other than our famously backpedaling mayor, who said we should have Carnival, then denied he’d said it, then started spouting off about confectionery and God’s will). Most of the negativity has come from two groups: New Orleanians who haven’t been able to get home yet and are upset that the party is happening without them — for whom I do feel some sympathy, — and outsiders who have no idea what Carnival is about or what it means to us….
What’s stood out for you about Carnival this year? So far, this has been a very local Carnival. There’s a national perception that Carnival is a “Girls Gone Wild”-type celebration with coeds baring their breasts, but that really only happens in the upper French Quarter, and if you questioned those girls, you’d find that not a single one is from Louisiana — they’d never act like that at home, but like to make fools of themselves here.