Floating Through Mardi Gras

There are all sorts of ways to experience Mardi Gras, New Orleans style. Crowds pack the streets along the parade route, on-lookers lean from windows for the bird's eye view, and millions of television viewers watch from home.

But Dave Price had the rare privilege of gliding through Mardi Gras as a guest on a float with the Mid-City Krewe. Mask and all, he reported on the experience for The Early Show.

Dave said he saw nothing but life, exuberance, celebration and thankfulness during Mardi Gras 2006. People jammed the parade routes, screaming for the beads, baubles and trinkets. In years past, the traditions may have seemed silly to some on-lookers. But this year, he said it felt more like an act of defiance against Katrina's destruction and all the talk that New Orleans would never be the same.

Even so, there were reminders of the recent devastation. The parade followed the hurricane evacuation route. The Mid-City Krewe wrapped each of their floats in the same blue tarps that still drape damaged homes, and many of the signs on the floats were Katrina-related.

But the mood was firmly upbeat. "No matter what happens, Katrina, the houses — my house is still gutted — nothing is going to keep us from New Orleans. This is our home," said a woman in the crowd.

And if ever there was a sign of post-Katrina revival, it's the Treme Bass Band. It is an institution in New Orleans, but was nearly devastated by the hurricane. Members of the band lost their homes, their instruments and their jobs.

But when a viewer wrote to The Early Show about the band's desperate situation, the broadcast set them up with new instruments and housing. Now, six months after the storm, they're back in business.

Dave dropped by to talk with the band and to hear it back in action.

To hear the Treme Brass Band, click here.