New Orleans and the Catholic Imagination

by Timothy O’Malley

I woke up this morning in northern Indiana, I felt deeply sad. Some might assume that it is the perma-cloud that has reasserted its wintry authority over South Bend. Some would tell me that it’s the pile of papers that must be graded over the next three days.

Both are wrong. It’s because today is Mardi Gras, and I’m not in New Orleans.

When I tell people that I love New Orleans especially around Mardi Gras, a number of assumptions are made about me as a person. People imagine me as the kind of person who likes to wander drunkenly down Bourbon St., my feet immersed in some unidentified liquid, while my body brushes against a crowd of half-clothed human beings.

They think to themselves how can a Catholic theologian, who is supposed to be piously engaged in theological education and research, enjoy this kind of debauchery?

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