by Mike and Cynthia Arsuaga
Mardi Gras, is French for Fat Tuesday, marks the last day before the beginning of Lent. In New Orleans the Mardi Gras season, commencing as much as two weeks before the big day, features elaborate parades of ‘floats’, decorated trailers from which the riders throw the world famous trinkets, mainly plastic and glass bead necklaces and small novelties.
The festive season climaxes on Fat Tuesday. Beginning at dawn, thousands of revelers, costumed in whatever the human imagination can conceive—from the sublime to the elaborately obscene to the reverent and nostalgic—fill the streets of New Orleans and surrounding parishes, called ‘counties’ in the rest of the country. Drinking, eating, and outrageous, but for the most part good-natured, behavior dominate the day among the parades, both official and impromptu, that work their way throughout the streets of the region.
The date of Mardi Gras varies year by year because it is tied to Easter Sunday. The date of the latter holiday, driven by the lunar calendar, comes on the Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. While the date of the equinox is set rather precisely, on or about March 21 each year, the full moon following it is not. As a result Mardi Gras season can begin among the wintery blasts of February that even temperate New Orleans experiences or as late as the doorway to springtime. In 2011, it occurs late in the cycle, on March 8.
While the majority celebrates on the streets or in small private house parties the members of the organizations—called krewes—that sponsor the official parades culminate the celebration with an elaborate costume ball. During Mardi Gras season, each day’s festivities climaxes with the masked ball for the krewes that sponsored parades that day and evening. On Mardi Gras night the royalty of the two best known of the organizations, Rex and Comus, meet near the end of their respective celebrations. The two carnival kings, dressed as monarchs of the Renaissance period, meet when the partition of the building housing the two events rolls back.
Minutes later, promptly at midnight, the bells of St Louis Cathedral sweep from the French Quarter, and signal the beginning of lent. Church bells throughout the region pick up the toll and the celebration fades into the night as everyone steels themselves for the stringencies of the imminent Lenten season.
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Drake Martin—private investigator, ladies’ man, shape-shifter—Yorkshire terrier, named Precious. Enter six-year-old Kady Hartley and life changes. Years later, they meet again. Still a PI, she's FBI. Follow them on an adventure tracking the Russian mob involving human trafficking through the streets of New Orleans and watch the fur fly.
Following Kady to New Orleans where she is on assignment he knows it will be easier to watch over her if he stays in the shadows, keeping his shifter abilities hidden. He hooks up with the local Sufi, head of the shifter family clan, but eventually engages in a bloody battle with the Russians. But, there is another enemy in their midst, one who won't rest until he destroys their chance at everlasting love...
Drake has fallen in love. Can Kady love him for who he really is, or will she leave him upon discovering the truth?
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Today Mike and Cynthia are giving away a book tether in Mardi Gras colors
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