I love New Orleans. LOVE NOLA’s Jazzfest. And while I have never had the burning desire to attend Mardi Gras, the above video does make me wish I lived there long enough to join this group and participate. Thinking about Mardi Gras, I admittedly dismissed it as ‘an excuse to drink beyond tolerance’. Pretty much the reason I dislike New Years’ Eve and St. Patty’s Day, too. I’m all for a few adult beverages, but not for people setting out to get smashed, obnoxious, and embarrass themselves (albeit with the ‘It was a holiday!” excuse). I will admit, however, that what I like the most about New Orleans is the spirit embodied by many in the parades, none more so than the Laissez Boys. The throwing off of convention, the desire (and ability) to have fun for fun’s sake… the putting aside of worries about appearance and what people will think. Very appealing. Sure some use it to drink too much, but that group likely has many in it that usually drink too much anyway. The using Mardi Gras as an excuse for frivolity that normally one pushes aside in favor of predictability and steadfastness? Very appealing. And while I realize we cannot act like that all the time, tossing off the shackles once in a while would be a great thing for all of us.
Here is how they describe themselves:
“We are the Laissez Boys of New Orleans – the worlds first Social Aid and Leisure Club.
We are men of industry who practice and teach the art of earned relaxation, the majesty of intemperance and the value of charitable servitude.
Social Aide comes in the form of instruction to the general public in the art of leisure – the when, where and how of manly indulgence. Social Aide also consists of entertainment, provided in abundance whenever the Laissez Boys roll. Social Aide is manifest as well in generosity of spirit and means, giving back to the community with the very tools we use to work our leisurely magic.
Leisure lies in the making of something special, in the time spent with like minds in the dogged pursuit of those things required for leisure. Leisure, after all, must be earned – this is the subtle but crucial distinction between leisure and laziness. We can only truly savor time deserved, not time wasted. Aristotle said, “We work to have leisure, on which happiness depends”.
Upon our debut at Mardi Gras 2013, the Laissez Boys will dress in sharp, gentlemanly attire and parade through the streets of New Orleans in our signature electro-powered recliners.
Watch us, as we take to the streets on the best day of the year, in the best city in the world with the best men we know, sipping the finest cocktails, and wearing the flat-out most deluxe clothing possible,
Experience Carnival from the best seat in the house.”
Heck, I just applied (seriously) for membership while I wrote this. The more I read about them, the more I wish there were a local chapter. Then again, the spirit required to join and participate is in short supply at times, and (sadly) more so within the NorthEast.
Maybe we need a pick a holiday where the goal is to let go of inhibitions, free yourself of expectations and conventions, and aim to do so without getting plastered. Do you think its possible? I think the country would be a little better off if we all had a tad more New Orleans living inside us all.