It's March the 8th and down here in south Louisiana, Mardi Gras --Fat Tuesday-- is being celebrated in full force. I mean stores are closed, schools, banks, you name it. The streets are cleared so bead throwing parades can reign. Being from SC I still don't quite "get it". But anyway, the folks down here take the celebration that began in New Orleans in 1857 seriously. Costumes are worn in the traditional colors of purple, green, and gold. And kings reign---the kings of each individual krewe ( private social clubs) lead the parades, host fancy balls and are honored in special ways. The word Rex which is Latin for king is as common down here as Gumbo. And King cakes, a pastry like cake sprinkled in the sugar colors of Mardi Gras and containing a little plastic baby Jesus hidden in the dough are served at every party, and fill every bakery window during the season, which begins on the 12th day after Christmas-Twelfth Night- and ends on Fat Tuesday, the last day of revelry before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins.