After the Gras, it’s time to mark Ash Wednesday

Just 24 hours ago, you were so alive! Now you're in church, remembering your mortality and getting your ashes on Wednesday.

by Mary Staes
March 1, 2019

One day you’re yelling for the biggest beads you can possibly fit around your neck, the next you’re at church, praying for forgiveness and a quick remedy to the pounding headache you’ve got.

So it goes here in New Orleans, every year. Every single Carnival season, we try to outdo the last.

“Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint,” they said. “Go to parades in the rain!” they said. “It’ll all be fun!” they said.

Even on Wednesday, life isn’t back to normal. You’ll go to work, sluggish, wondering why any group of people would decide to have a holiday on a TUESDAY, and why the rest of the nation doesn’t understand. Every time you look up, someone in the room will have that cross on their head. The cross that reminds you that one day, you’ll die, and to dust, you shall return. Just 12 hours ago, you were so alive!

Ash Wednesday immediately follows Fat Tuesday, and is the beginning of the Lent season. Christians take time to reflect on sacrifice during Lent, and most fast on Fridays or abstain from meat. It’s also a day of repentance from sin. In essence, it is the exact opposite of Mardi Gras.

You’ve got options. Maybe you’re short on time, so you’ve got to do drive-thru ashes. Maybe you can spare a half-hour and attend Mass at a church close to you. Either way, you’ll definitely be the odd man out if you don’t get them.

You’ll get on your teleconference with your coworkers in New York, who won’t be tired at all, and who also won’t have a black smudge on his or her forehead. They’ll be confused, and that’s fine. It’s like a badge, the visible signs of being a New Orleanian, and we wear it with pride.

Mary Staes is Digital Content Lead for Very Local. She works with our freelancers and crafts content for our social media platforms and website. Before Very Local, she worked with CBS affiliate WWL-TV as a web producer and weekend assignment editor for about 4 years. She has also handled broadcast coverage for 160 Marine Reserve training facilities while she served as an active duty Marine. As a native New Orleanian, she takes being "very local" to heart. She loves being intertwined with the culture and figuring out how there are less than two degrees of separation between us all, whether...

More Local Stories

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Sanford

On this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando explore what’s new in the Northern part of town. Sanford has a plethora of breweries, bars, and delicious dining options to choose from.

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

On this episode of Hometown Tragedy: Missing in Milwaukee, we’ll explore what happened to Jerica Banks, her children, and how it impacted their community.

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

Cheap Date Orlando: Punk Rock & Pooches

Two Orlando couples shop vintage, search for the perfect slice, visit a post-apocalyptic saloon, and take the stage on blind dates in Orlando.

Fit and Fab: Free summer workouts in Boston

Cover photo courtesy Getty Images Looking to get fit for the summer? Still wary of COVID-19 or just looking for some sunshine while you sweat? Here are some Boston free summer workouts across the city so you can keep moving all season long! Seaport Sweat May 2 to Sept. 29 Boston’s biggest free workout series…

What’s On the Menu?: Farm-to-table

The farm-to-table movement brings locally grown foods to your plate. Not only will enjoying farm-to-table meals allow you to indulge in fresh, nutritional, seasonal dishes, but farm-to-table dining helps the environment and supports the local economy.  Check out these delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina on the latest episode of What’s On the Menu?. …

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

A guide to Pittsburgh’s summer events must-do list

Check out our roundup below for the can’t-miss events happening in the city over the next few months.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Tarpon Springs

In this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando you’ll be transported to a thriving Greek community nestled on Florida’s gulf coast. From sponge diving to flaming cheese to a Greek bakery that supplies a ginormous amount of baklava to the entire country, you’re sure to fall in love with Greek culture in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Dorchester doughnuts that pack a paczki

These traditional Polish pastries are the real deal.

Getting around the dreaded ‘box’ during Mardi Gras

It’s the black hole of Carnival season, literally.

Mardi Gras: Here’s your DIY guide to making a costume

Consider this your guide to sewing, gluing and glittering your way to Mardi Gras DIY costume glory.

Looking for a Dong Phuong king cake but can’t get to the East? Here’s a list of places that have them.

Live on the Westbank but still want to get a Dong Phuong king cake? No worries.

Handmade Halloween: Making your own costume is half of the fun

There are plenty of resources for your own DIY costume, and it won’t be the cheesy pom-pom gumball machine either.