The Mardi Gras Researcher Story
A true story of when we attended the Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans in 1983
It was Mardi Gras time in 1983 and my wife and I decided to go to New Orleans.
So we started making calls to find an available room. After several calls we found a room at the le Richelieu hotel located on Chartres Street.
Once we were in New Orleans we checked the parade schedule and there was one slated to come down Canal Street that very evening. So about two hours before parade time we walked down to Canal Street hoping to find a good spot along the parade route, someplace where we could catch some beaded necklaces that they threw from the parade floats to the masses of people that were always crowded along the parade route.
That evening, we were two hours early but the crowds had already started lining the streets, and in some places they were up to 6 or 7 people deep, the whole length of the parade route.
Eventually I found a spot and we edged our way in, until we had only one or two people in front of us. As the parade came by, I noticed there was a fellow standing next to me to my right, he had a small ice cooler next to him that he stood on, making it easy for him to catch the beads being tossed to the crowd.
When the floats eventually slowed down and the marching bands went by, he got off the cooler, opened it up and took out a cold bottle of Southern Comfort and he took a few slugs of it. As he put the bottle back, I looked him over, he appeared to be a pretty presentable guy about 30 years old, and was just a bit tipsy. I thought he was a pretty smart guy to have brought a cooler to stand on, so I complemented him on it, and we started talking. He said that he was from Chicago, and he was going to be in New Orleans for a couple of weeks. So to make conversation, I asked him what he did for a living in Chicago, and he said that he worked in a laboratory as a research chemist. I said you are fortunate to have a job that lets you come to New Orleans for two weeks. Yes he said I’m very fortunate it’s a good job, I have been there several years.
I was curious, as to what the hell a research chemist does, as I always liked to fool around with chemistry, so I asked him what he was researching. He said he was working for a government funded company that was researching for a cure for cancer. I had to stop and think for a second. Then I said, what happens if you find a cure, does that mean you are out of a job. He got back up on the cooler and he looked at me sort of like I was a dope, and with a wide smile, he said, you don’t you ever worry about that.
I took that to mean, he wasn’t worried, because his company had no intention of ever finding a cure. But it got me to thinking. How many companies out there are paid by our government to find a cure but they never seem to find one. I bet there are hundreds of companies doing the same scam, and I really don’t like to think about it. That conversation was back in 1983 and I bet his company is still getting paid for researching. Perhaps he is the
President of the company by now.
I was thinking that perhaps the government should put term limits on all the cancer cure research companies, 4 years and no cure and the money stops.