Carnival Notes: They Must Be Smoking Gras

The Rex jester float.

New Orleans Carnival has a fat problem. I’m not talking obesity: I’m talking about the way many add GRAS to everything. GRAS is French for fat. The post title points out the absurdity of the practice. Oy just oy.

Words have meaning, so I’m about to get pedantic. What’s a little pedantry among friends?

The word GRAS is properly appended to Lundi and Mardi. The former is often mispronounced so let’s straighten that out first. Monday is Moon day, so Lundi is  pronounced LOON-DI, not LUN-DI. This is one of many things about Carnival 2023 that drives me crazy.

Carnival is the season, Mardi Gras is the final day of that season. It’s the day before the Catholics among us get ashen on Wednesday.

The GRAS problem started spiraling out of control when Jefferson Parish began what they billed as a family friendly festival: FAMILY GRAS. That’s right, Fat Family. While it may be accurate in many cases, it’s downright weird to those of us who value language.

Repeat after me: GRAS is French for fat. Words have meaning.

Then there’s a term trendy among hipsters and recent transplants:

This bit of deep fried dumbness is applied to the final week of parading. It’s a new coinage that some find clever but I agree with this response to my Tweet:

Death is not enough: an execution is in order.

If the Impeached Insult Comedian had his way, we could convene a firing squad or import a Guillotine from the mother country.

I prefer a more benign means of linguistic execution. I’d rather stick Deep Gras in the fryer along with some beignets. I almost said chicken but was afraid I’d chicken out…

Those who use Deep Gras are more likely than not the people I described in a post about the Tenth Katrinaversary:

After the water receded, there was a second inundation of people flooding into the city. Some were do-gooders, some were hipsters seeking the next trend, still others were here to make a buck. Very few of them understood the essence of New Orleans and what makes the city and its inhabitants tick. Many of them, especially on social media, have come up with an orthodoxy of what it means to be a New Orleanian. That has come to be known as copping a NOLAier than thou attitude, a swell phrase that was coined by Karen Dalton Beninato.  Some of the NOLAier than thou set seem to have spent way too much time watching Treme. Instead of a Cabaret, life is apparently a second line, old chum.

That last line never gets old.

I realize that the people who add GRAS to everything think it’s cool and cute. Instead, it’s clueless. Please stop. Why not call it Deep Carnival?

Life is hard enough without well-meaning fatheads sprinkling GRAS over everything. They must be smoking GRAS.

Repeat after me: GRAS is French for fat. Words have meaning.

The last word goes to The Meters with lead vocals by my late 13th Ward neighbor Art Neville:

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