Tangled Up in Blue…Arms

As Meg noted earlier, today marks the day when the Epiphany, or Twelfth Night, is celebrated around the world. And in New Orleans, it’s also the official kick-off to the Mardi Gras season. It was this time last year that I first went down to the Big Easy to begin reporting the Mardi Gras Moments series for the blog, a project that eventually evolved into my current story in the magazine, “Parading Around New Orleans.” When I sat down to write the piece, a certain blue-skinned deity I happened upon immediately came to mind. The opening paragraph of the story, which describes a scene from the amazing Society of St. Anne parade, begins:

My bearings are off. It feels as if I’m in a maze of fun house mirrors.

I’m standing at an intersection in New Orleans and before me is a blue-skinned Vishnu, the Hindu protector of the universe, none of whose many eel-like arms seems to point me in the right direction.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when I received the following letter in my inbox…

Dear National Geographic Traveler,

Thanks for featuring the Krewe of St. Anne parade from 2009 in your recent article about Mardi Gras. The whole piece was great, and it’s wonderful for non-locals to get to see that Mardi Gras is much, much more than just boobies and beads. I walked in the St. Anne parade last year, and I think that the article starts out with a description of me in costume! I paraded all day and didn’t see anyone else with blue skin and multiple arms :) Thanks for appreciating my costume, and I’m glad it added to the out-of-this-world atmosphere that morning.

Sincerely,

Katie Robinette
New Orleans, LA

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Katie attached a photo to her email, and she was indeed the person I’d remembered. And as it happens, Krista Rossow, who photographed the piece, had taken one of Katie as well (above). I’m so very glad that she was able to track me down, and thankful that she made such a vivid impression on a fabulous Mardi Gras day.

Read the story; see a gallery of more of Krista’s photos; and watch a video of the city waking up on Mardi Gras morning.  

Photo: Krista Rossow

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