Attn Krewes! This Must Be Rectified, You Don’t Take Carnival Away From a Child!

Feb 24, 2012 by

I am so furious as I write this that my hands are shaking and I’ve got tears in my eyes.

One of our local bloggers is the mother of an autistic child, a little girl for whom the magic of Mardi Gras was her greatest joy. Until this year.

You see, this year some class-less nimrod and his buddies managed to destroy that. Drunken college kids who should be evicted from our city and their University almost set her hair on fire, laughed in her mother’s face when she asked them to move, and then called this tiny child a retard to her face. A child whose great love was the time “when everyone is a little weird like me.”

The reaction? Something that should never happen to a child during Mardi Gras:

“Mama. please, can we go home? He told everyone I’m a retard. I’m not a retard, am I, Mama?” she asked. The grin was gone, replaced by a quivering lip. The sparkle in her eyes had dispersed, and they were now filled with a flow of tears falling down her full, pink cheeks.

“Are you sure, honey? We could walk somewhere else and watch the parade. We could move.”

“No, Mama. I don’t think that would be a good idea. People there will probably think I’m a retard, too. People don’t want people like me at parades. They won’t let us in to watch the parade. I just know it.”

I tried to comfort her with my words, encourage her, but the more I pushed, the more this man’s words hurt.

We packed up the bag holding the the goods that had entertained us for the  two hours  we sat on the sidewalk, waiting for our special night. The bag that held my daughter’s snacks, sketch pad, books, and blanket. I took her hand, and led her to the car to go home.

She cried in the car on the way home, having seen exactly two floats from Muses and having exactly zero throws to show for the verbal attack that she endured just trying to watch her favorite parade.

“Honey, I am really sorry about what happened. Maybe we can try tomorrow night. Maybe we can go to a different spot, ” I said, trying to encourage her and save the rest of our Mardi Gras.

“No, Mama. I don’t think I want to do Mardi Gras anymore. Not ever again.”

A year ago, I asked my daughter what she most loved about Mardi Gras, expecting her to say the throws, the beads, and the pretty costumes. Her answer surprised me: “I don’t feel like I am different than everyone else during Mardi Gras, Mama. During Mardi Gras, everyone is a little weird like me.”

That night, she didn’t want to share her daily gratitudes, shrugging her shoulders and telling me she didn’t really feel grateful for much. She didn’t write in her journal, only wanting to forget the night had even happened. Her countdown calendar peppered the floor in tear-soaked pieces. A night that he had probably already forgotten by the next morning; a night that her broken heart will never let her forget.

The comment stream on the original post is massive and growing. Add to it. Krewes are mobilizing as are members of the community to bring the magic back for her. All of us who march or ride, all of us who take joy from the annual bacchanal, all of use who have ever gained any pleasure or happiness from Carnival have an obligation to make up for the action of these two thoughtless asshats.

I call upon all of you, from ‘tit Rex to Rex, from my own Krewe of Chartreuse to the Pussyfooters, to bring back the magic. If we cannot do that for this child then none of us deserve to march or ride.

Amplify the signal. Spread this. Let’s make it Mardi Gras all year for her.

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