Archive for February, 2006

Today

High: 75 Degrees
Plentiful sunshine
Winds S at 10 to 15 mph.

YES.

It seems like it’s been cold and drizzly for every Fat Tuesday I can remember. Now I gotta get outta here before I miss Zulu.

Lundi Gras: Orpheus, Final Night Parade

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All right! that was Orpheus last night . . . Harry Connick’s krewe. They were good but Muses wins this year.
So I am dressed in my costume and heading down for the Rex run for a couple photos and then to the restaurant to do the six mile stroll downtown to Frenchman St. with the steppers. We are all intent on two things today: seeing the Zulu dancers and the Mardi Gras Indians. We will see that, maybe more than once and everything else we see will be no less amazing. I’ll be taking lots of photos. Time to get my Irish Coffee and head out. If it’s just Tuesday where you are…..well, as always, thanks for that, it makes us feel freer. Happy Mardi Gras ! ! ! !

Pretty Good Gear

It’s the new face of loot!

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When I was a kid, float riders carried all their throws in big cardboard boxes that, when emptied, were simply ejected onto the street. It’s hard to get excited about catching an empty box.

Someone has since had the brilliant idea of making a souvenir out of the throw container. Once the rider throws all the stuff from the bag, out goes the bag into the arms of some lucky Mardi Gras celebrant who now has not only a kick-ass place to put their stuff but also a memento of the parade, float number, and, in some cases, the float rider him/herself.

As you can see from the labels, this bag came off Orpheus’s float 4. It was assigned to James Lavelle (what a great New Orleans name!), it contained ten dozen 72-inch strings of round pink beads, and it weighed 29 pounds when full. In the photo above, I would wager that it contains, and weighs, somewhat more than that. I should know. I carried it from the Lafayette Hotel over to Poydras and then biked to the Superdome with it hanging off my left handlebar.

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I have no idea what “PGG” stands for.

Too much to ask

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What’s this guy’s story at Orleans and Royal tonight?

Nah. I don’t wanna get into it.

It’s weird down in Da Quawtah, dawlin’…

Overheard in Spanish Plaza

“So if Mayor Nagin has ceded control of the city to the King of Rex, does that mean Rex can fire Nagin tomorrow?”

Marti who?

I think I hit my carnival stride on Saturday. I went out early and got home earlier – no I didn’t time travel – I beat the sun to my bed by about 45 minutes. Whoo Hoo, I win! Traditionally on Sundays, my goal is to not leave the house, but this was no normal Sunday and though I did spend most of the day lying around on my back like an old, retired prostitute and watching the Discovery Channel, I did go out in the evening. I met up with some friends at The Avenue Pub and we were going to go see Flogging Molly’s but getting down there got all complicated so I just turned around and headed back to the bar. I probably should have gone to the show, but I had a good time running around by myself.

See, every year I try to find my “Mardi Gras Moment” for lack of a less ridiculous way to say it. Like Chris Martel’s post, its clear he’s already found his for this year. I’m still looking for mine. It doesn’t worry me since there’s still time. I do have a very pronounced sense of the people who are out of town right now and I miss them dearly. The vendor stands can sort of make me sad since I find myself thinking, ‘this person always gets one of these, and that person loves these…’. For me, at least, Mardi Gras isn’t as care-free this year as it usually is and I think that’s alright. There’s almost more of an emotional charge to it this year. I’ll try and get some practical stuff done today and be rested up for this evening through tomorrow afternoon. If anyone wants to get together, I’ll be on St. Charles Ave., I should be easy to spot since I’ll be the drunk one trying to catch some beads.

The Gutter

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I have been anticipating this scene because of our serious lack of manpower in the city. I doubted our ability to maintain the high standard with which the clean team normally cleans up this mountain of trash. It didn’t happen last night. The night before I spoke to a woman with a rake who said they are still hired by the city but that a lot of people had not shown up for work. There are some trucks up the street, they are getting to it. A few of us are out here taking pictures because it’s such a rare sight. True veterans, we are not above picking stuff out of the gutter. I got a dabloon from Endymion as I was not at the parade, they are a very pretty blue.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon

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I think this picture of a kid on St. Charles on Sunday kinda sums up the Real Mardi Gras as much as anything. He’s a kid, right? He’s acting like a kid, throwing a football back and forth with other kids between parades. But he’s got on those outrageous panties and he’s armed with plastic weaponry in case some imagined foe appears sharklike from the shadows. It’s what New Orleans is this extended Carnival weekend — playing like children, wearing some slightly risque clothing and keeping some kind of guard up in case we need it.

The city returns to a slight bit of normal today as Lundi Gras gives us some daylight hours of the regular routine. Two more parades tonight on St. Charles before everything shuts down tomorrow and the final round of parades. Our house has emptied out a bit as the weekend revelers have returned to Texas and Florida, but y’know what? It was good to have folks here who Get It — much preferring the Uptown/family/neighborhood scene to the bacchanalia in the French Quarter. They had to go see it, but were there only about 90 minutes before declaring it too much.

We’re basically a pretty boring bunch — loading up the cooler, walking up to St. Charles, seeing friends and neighbors, getting our parade bling, then walking back home again. Then doing it all over again. Then again. Then again. The delight comes not from seeing the outrageous, but more from the elevated spiritedness of it all.

Drunken college kids and tourists? Plenty. Particularly downtown and in the FQ. But along the Uptown parade route, it’s a lot more about kids running around and slightly buzzed parents to watch them. And friends and families high-fiving and lining up for photos on neutral ground…

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…so we’ll continue for another day or so. It’s who we are. And it’s delightful.

Rubber Chicken

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B. got the rubber chicken! Bacchus was nice where I watched it. Then I headed up Constantinople and to the Ave.
Jesus . . . the crowds? Some large parts of St. Charles were impassable or very nervously tight. I have never seen it that thick. Endymion’s crowds are just too much. I had such a challenge getting in that once I got in, I stayed.
No day parades today, Monday. This is good, perhaps an errand could be run. Getting low on king cake. I haven’t mentioned my addiction. Only a couple days left !

In Between Parades

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This is the view from my bedroom window and there are more than a few port o’lets in the pocket park now . . . I don’t know how those people do it. There’s no way I could sit out there all day. The day parades are over and now everyone’s just waiting for the big shots tonight, Bacchus, Endymion. Even though I am on the avenue, it gets too crowded for the super krewes. There’s another place I go to watch parades where there are no ladders, plenty of beer and real bathrooms. But it’s a secret.

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