It’s Fat Tuesday, so down in New Orleans today the streets will once again be filled with parades, wild costumes, drinking, and plenty of…well, other debauchery.
But everywhere else, it’s just Tuesday.
I used to live in New Orleans and getting a couple days off from work to get drunk, hit up the parades and eat king cake while the rest of the world is in the office was always a nice little perk of living there.
Unfortunately this year I’m not in the Big Easy to celebrate, but if you’re like me and wish you were at Mardi Gras instead of in the office, we’ve got a song for that: Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Down at the Twist and Shout.”
The hit song from her 1990 album Shooting Straight in the Dark is actually about a bar that Carpenter used to frequent in Bethesda, Maryland, where she would hear the legendary Cajun band BeauSoleil when they would come into town “at the Twist and Shout.”
But it’s since been adopted down on the bayou, especially after Carpenter performed the song live in New Orleans prior to Super Bowl XXXI in 1997, along with none other than BeauSoleil (who’s also name-dropped in the song and whose members played on the original track in 1990).
And the song’s perfect for anybody who wishes they could be at Mardi Gras, as Carpenter sings of “wandering down to New Orleans” and never coming back.
So crank this one up today as you’re stuck at work, or maybe as you crack an Abita when you get home.
Sure, everywhere else it’s just Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean Mardi Gras has to suck everywhere but New Orleans.
And for a little lagniappe (a little something extra), check out her live version from that 1997 Super Bowl. Because when she drops that chorus in French there in the middle…absolutely ELECTRIC.