Carnival is upon us again, and even though I was feeling a bit under the weather, I wasn’t about to miss my last first-parade-of-the-season as a resident of New Orleans. I hopped on my bike and headed downtown without a sweater or anything, because I swear it’s already summertime. The traffic was crazy once I crossed Canal as folks gathered for Krewe du Vieux. Listen, people. Don’t drive to the Quarter when it’s parade time. Just don’t do it. You can park along the streetcar line and ride in, or, oh, I don’t know, ride a bicycle? Seriously, my enjoyment of Mardi Gras went up exponentially once I got a bike. I don’t have to worry about parking, I don’t get caught in the traffic trying to leave, and that’s ignoring the important extra bonus: I can watch a parade and then ride to the end of it and watch it again. Tonight I left my bike at S.’s place and we walked the parade route. On our way back we noticed this sharp parking job. Nobody’s getting out of this line of cars. Of course, the party will go on all night, so perhaps they don’t need to go anywhere else. Me, I headed home early, flying Uptown on the smooth Baronne asphalt, feeling the cool spring air on bare arms. Bring it, Mardi Gras.