Hail Thoth: A Love Letter from a Pediatric Nurse

In 1947, the founders of the Krewe of Thoth intentionally planned their Uptown route with “institutions that care for persons with disabilities and illness” in mind. For decades, the Krewe of Thoth has brought Mardi Gras joy to pediatric patients as the only parade that passes Children’s Hospital. This year, however, due to a police shortage, the City of New Orleans modified Thoth’s traditional route. The Krewe will not pass in front of Children’s Hospital this year. I understand the importance of public safety and am grateful our city gets to experience parades at all this year. Still, as a pediatric nurse, this decision breaks my Mardi Gras-loving heart, and I wanted to show some love to The Krewe and say, “Hail Thoth!” 

Dear Krewe of Thoth,

I have loved your parade since I was a little girl and my dad rode. When I was 5 years old, my dad threw me a massive stuffed dog that I slept with for years. When my friends came over and asked about it, I proudly explained that my daddy rode in Thoth, picked it out just for me, and I caught it.

When I was 11 years old, I was a patient of Children’s Hospital. I was admitted for a few days following an ankle surgery during the Mardi Gras season. While I was out by Thoth Sunday, I was so upset to miss the little parades with my friends. I specifically chose Mardi Gras colors for my cast so that once I was discharged, I’d be ready to hit the Avenue. I even asked my parents to bring me Popeye’s in the hospital. I mostly watched TV and read books during my stay. Though my parents rolled me and my IV pole down to watch that really cool ball machine, that was the extent of my hospital adventures. But if I’d stayed inpatient when you were rolling? Oh, I’d have traded my ladder box for my wheelchair and been down there with a front row spot.

Fast forward to today. I’m now a pediatric nurse. I split my time working between the ER and acute care. In particular, I care for children with cancer. The work can be taxing. Seeing kids sick is hard, but there is generally so much joy in caring for these patients and bonding with their families. They have been through the bad times, so when the good times roll, it’s that much better. They wear costumes on Halloween. They meet Santa and get presents. They go out and see the Audubon Zoo lights. And some have enjoyed a glimpse of Mardi Gras on the parade route as the Krewe of Thoth rolled down Henry Clay.

We try to make holidays and special occasions as fun and memorable as we can for our precious patients. But you know and I know, ain’t no party like a parade. And for many of my kids, you brought the party, even for a moment, just long enough to catch a couple strands of beads or a coveted stuffed animal. Just long enough to give kids and their families some New Orleans normalcy.

Krewe of Thoth, we will miss you this year. We know how special our patients are to you. We hope this is only temporary. In the meantime, on Thoth Sunday 2022, some of us will be eating Popeye’s along your route yelling for you with our own families. Some of us will be at Children’s Hospital. We will bring the glitter and the king cake and Mardi Gras Mambo in your stead and look forward to screaming, “Throw me something, Mister!” on Henry Clay in 2023. Have a great ride, gentlemen!

Hail Thoth!

Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their 10- and 7-year-old boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education, earned her BSN, and now works as a pediatric emergency nurse. In her free time, Alyson enjoys flipping furniture, writing, dancing, and painting. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.

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