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It Was Just Before Fat Tuesday...

Back in 1970, it was 6:30 in the evening and I was still at the dinner table when my future college roommate called and asked if I wanted to go Mardi Gras. I said sure and he came by in about in his '68 Volkswagen. There were four on us. We drove all night and arrived in New Orleans about 10:00 in the morning.

Before noon I was taking a little nap with my glass of wine next to a light pole in the Quarter. It was warm and after being forced to participate in the lucid world we did the tourist thing.

Being poor college students, we were going to spend the night with our hosts at Tulane. After some late night debauchery, we headed that way. The campus cops directed us to a field where we could sleep with a college ID and a blanket. The next morning we woke to a rugby game on the field. The student center provided a great breakfast and we were ready for... Well we didn't know what except more drinking and it was warm and early. This was a welcome break from Owensboro, Kentucky.

We got the old road map to see if we could find a place to soak some rays. And there it was, Shell Beach. It wasn't that far, just down south of New Orleans ten or so miles.

We were pumped.

We stopped where the road moved into the swamp. This was Shell Beach. We got out and were immediately attacked by swarming no-see-ums. And indeed it was an oyster shell beach. We needed more doubloons and beads. Where are my "clackers"? The entire three- day trip, including vast quantities of libation and all the red beans and rice you could eat, cost us sixteen dollars each.

Those were the days, my friend.



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