It was a glorious day!
Over 30 years ago I found myself at my first, no adult supervision Mardi Gras. My friend Anna turned on the radio as we got costumed and I stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t believe that there was a station playing the music my father played (traditional Jazz). I was even more excited to discover that the DJs were all volunteers. Oh man, did I ever want to be in that number!
Fast forward 32 years. It was perhaps the coldest, wettest, nastiest Mardi Gras in history, but you couldn’t keep me at home. I found myself sitting behind the microphone about to share my first Mardi Gras broadcast with the world. I was shaking. Could I really convey to the rest of the world how much Carnival and its music meant to me? I put forth the challenge to those not in New Orleans, “Don’t let this be just another Tuesday!”
Before the first song was over, the phone started ringing and it was on! Listeners were calling to tell me what they were doing to celebrate Mardi Gras in their world. One lady was about to ice her king cake in Maine. One man brought donuts with sprinkles (closest he could get to a king cake in Nebraska) and coffee to work and had an early morning break room celebration for his employees while listening to WWOZ. Another listener went to work in costume in Seattle. Proving that to WWOZ listeners, it was not just another Tuesday.
I got phone calls from South Korea, Chalmette, Thailand, a nursing home uptown, Nova Scotia, New York, Metairie, California, Florida, and all points in between. The most memorable will forever be the call I received from a man telling me that he and his family were standing on the edge of the Grand canyon. His daughter had the WWOZ phone app up and ready to broadcast out over the edge. He asked me if I could play what he called “that song they played on Treme when they would leave the house on Mardi Gras day”. I pulled up Professor Longhair’s “Go to the Mardi Gras” hit play and turned it up!
Twenty minutes later, the man called back telling me how beautiful it was. He said the eagles were soaring overhead and a group of Native American Indians that were there to perform a dance exhibition came over. They said they knew of the Mardi Gras Indians and their traditions and started to dance to Fess. Again proving that all across the world for WWOZ listeners…. It was NOT just another Tuesday….. It Was A Glorious Day!