I’ll Never Go to the Rex Parade.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) There are things in New Orleans that are as old as The Quarter, and Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, racism is one of those things. It is easy to overlook racism in the Crescent City because one is focused on a culture that is dominated by the spirit of African Americans. When people consider the music, food, dance, the very energy of the city you will always see black. This is not to say that there are no other groups of people that have contributed to the Spirit of New Orleans because there are and their place space in the culture should be valued. With that being acknowledged there are not many parts of the culture whereby you don’t find black people from the foundation of the city to now. This can make people forget black people in New Orleans deal with racism. They have to fight gentrification, subpar schools that would be better if there were more white students…and the ugly of racism even shows its face at carnival time.

Growing up in New Orleans I never saw Bourbon St during Mardi Gras. The wildness of the tourist that come to revel in carnival succumbing to every lustful part of their inner nature because they are in the city that says during this time we lay it all on the streets before saying “Farewell to the Flesh”. Well, there is more to this story.

Racism is a quiet understanding during Mardi Gras that causes natives to give each other the side-eye while standing in each other’s presence. It is a known fact there is no parade without black marching bands. They take the street during every parade and have the comfort of music and movement to move them down streets in spaces where parade goes dance to their sound while hating the source of the rhythm that moves them. We see the forced ease of this mixing is super krewe parades like Endymion and Bacchus.

However, one of the most segregated moments of carnival in New Orleans comes on Mardi Gras day. The black folks will get up that morning and prepare for the Zulu Parade while our white counterparts prepare for Rex. If you happen to live on Rex’s route, or you want to make sure our bands that have to march in that space are supported, you may have seen it. However, that’s one parade I don’t believe I’ll ever see. The Krewe of Rex is one that isn’t know for welcoming black folks, and it’s okay because Zulu belongs to us. We are in our element where we are celebrated and loved. This is where culture comes alive for us as the parade rolls and latter we see the Indian dancing under the bridge whereby it’s one big party. You see the folks you know, and ones you’ll know after the day is done.

It can be argued that we have learned to deal with the racism by continuing to project our culture and walk in our heritage. We have a solid place in Mardi Gras, and we can continue to hope that one day every route our kids march will be one whereby they are celebrated…not just what they offer. IT would be a day if Zulu & Rex could celebrate together on equal ground. Then again they would have to acknowledge too much for that too ever happen.

Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

May also connect with this sister via Twitter; ChelleStJames.