Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday came into sacred juxtaposition this year when Rex – Robert Boh – stopped in front of 2525 St. Charles Ave. to chat with and toast William Grace Jr., who reigned as Rex in 2002. Just two weeks earlier, the Montgomery-Grace House, home to four kings of Carnival since 1907, was gutted in a seven-alarm fire.
A reviewing stand was erected in front of the residence, and Grace hosted members of the New Orleans Fire Department who kept the blaze from spreading to other homes. The Ash Wednesday sign said it all. No one was hurt in the fire.
At Ash Wednesday Mass on March 6, Father Joe Palermo, left, asked students at St. Francis Xavier School what they thought their friends might be “giving up” for Lent, and they replied, “ice cream”; “soft drinks”; “social media.” Father Palermo said those kind of sacrifices are helpful in building strength to ward off the temptation to sin, whenever it comes. He said some families give up going out to eat during Lent and use the money they would have spent to support a ministry to the poor or some other charity.
At right, kindergartner Liam Payne smiles after receiving his ashes.