As of Twelfth Night, Carnival season is official upon us in the Crescent City, and I'm looking forward to doing a lot of walking, as I watch the parades & street parties wind through the city. I'm also hoping for a year of writing. Maybe that's why I like the symbolism of Epiphany so much. In all the various ways I've heard it interpreted, pagan or Christian, the feast day celebrates a journey towards illumination. Whether we're following a light towards sacred belief or holding a torch as we travel through darkness seeking creative enlightenment, I like the metaphor.
Last night, in honour of Epiphany, I watched the annual Joan of Arc parade roll through the French Quarter, and I hoped for some illumination. Unlike in France, where Joan of Arc has tragically been co-opted by the Far Right, in New Orleans she remains a kick-ass Feminist icon. Last night's marchers included Joans of all types, from a saintly Joan in a wheelchair to local child Joans on rolling toy horses to a young African-American Joan in armor holding her sword aloft as she expertly rode a steel-grey horse along Bienville Street. I can't guarantee that I'll ride into these new Roaring Twenties quite so fearlessly, but I'd like to.
New Orleans parades reference events of the past year; this photo shows the Notre Dame tribute from last night--the illuminated Rose Windows are walking in front, with a cardboard Cathedral behind them.