New Orleans Carnival 2006 Sponsored By Wal-Mart
City administration officials announced the eight day parade plan for Carnival 2006. Although the expanded parade schedule gives all of us who love Carnival in New Orleans something to look forward to and plan for, the city has also asked for corporate sponsorship to defray the costs of the expanded schedule. Instead of first asking for volunteers from around the U.S. to come and help New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2006, the city immediately turned to the corporate world to solve our financial problems. Police, fire, garbage and other service employees from around the U.S. would have likely volunteered their time and equipment to come and help New Orleans pull off a full Carnival season this year, if asked. Instead we are going to forever alter the character of Mardi Gras in New Orleans by reaching out to our good corporate friends. I can't wait for Wal-Mart, Home Depot, ExxonMobil, CocaCola, AnheuserBush, etc. to get their hands on Carnival. I am sure the highlights will be banners on floats such as Bacchus brought to you by Trojan Condoms! and Tucks sponsored by Tucks!
If you doubt the amount of change that could take place from corporate sponsorship, just turn on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and listen to Al Roker read off all types of corporate dribble as floats pass by their reviewing stand. It is pathetic and it could be our future.
There is still a chance. To our city officials: Admit you made a mistake by suggesting corporate sponsorship can solve our problems this Carnival season. To everyone that loves Carnival in New Orleans: Write, call, and email people you know in other cities throughout the U.S. and start spreading the word that New Orleans needs volunteer police, fire and garbage workers for Carnival this year. The message we would truly be sending to all: Our traditions are not for sale at any price!