This is my first Mardi Gras.  Yes, I am a former New Yorker and New Hampshirite, both states with their own great traditions and celebrations.  But no matter where you are, you can't have a parade without marching bands.  It almost wouldn't be a parade without these bands.  And while marching bands are not new to me, it is the southern marching bands that are.  New England and New York have their own band traditions, activities, and culture, but they aren't as well featured as Southern marching bands are... think the film Drumline, but no where near as dramatic.  It was the playing style that caught my interest along with the outward confidence, almost like they were football teams getting ready for a game.  As our float was getting settled in, two area high school bands were dueling it out in the middle of the parking lot.  Going back and forth.  And it made me realize that Mardi Gras isn't just about the floats and the beads, which are both very much involved in the celebration, but these marching bands and even the other musicians in the parade help feed  the culture of the community.  It reminds me that although football season is over, it isn't too far away. Tomorrow, we'll chat about the crowds, the big, big crowds.