Midsummer Mardi Gras

Krewe of O.A.K. Midsummer Mardi Gras

Krewe of O.A.K. Midsummer Mardi Gras

We went by Henry’s last night for drinks and the Krewe of O.A.K. Midsummer Mardi Gras Parade. I’m a bit of a stickler for arriving on time, but I think that is going to have to change in the Big Easy. Apart from the early bird Pussyfooters, of which Henry’s lady friend is a member, there were only two other civilians in the house. Chatting with them, we learned that one had just bought a building near the Falstaff restoration project (tell me how to get on the list for that). He’s making mixed incoming apartments too. Originally from California, he was attracted to the project because he wanted to get involved in restoring the community. It’s cheap, too. You can get grants for making buildings green. I never met anyone who owns a building before.

As more of the Pussyfooters dance troupe arrived, I realized that I hadn’t been to a party with this many women in years if ever. The apartment was pregnant with estrogen and pink and feathers. I must say that I withdrew and became quite shy.

Midsummer Mardi Gras had been postponed because of Gustav, so the Krewe were not going to let a little sprinkle of rain stop them. Walking down to the Maple Leaf Bar (the starting point), pink clad ladies were already dancing to the music inside their heads and bobbing umbrellas real New Orleans style.

The street was packed and blocked off by police. Nearly nude Scandinavians were playing beach volleyball. A man in an electronic wheelchair was narrating through a megaphone. Then the band started to play and led everyone behind the police car to parade through the dark streets of uptown. “Not just anyone can march in a Mardi Gras parade,” I turned and said to Patrick. “The don’t let you do this during Mardi Gras time.”

Stopping to smoke by the side of the street, we met a middle-aged black lady throwing beads and trinkits into the parade…like a reversed Mardi Gras. She said she had been living uptown for 28 years and that this parade had been going for 20 of those years: “I wait for it every year,” she said as she as she threw a frisbee at a man dressed in Choctaw gear and carrying a huge hurricane swirl made of cardboard. “My hurricane’s turned into a category one, honey” he said referring to wilting, rain-drenched thing.

It was all a bit overwhelming, and we had to leave early. Walking through the wet dark streets back to my momma’s car, we tried to make sense of it all. But, that’s just it. You can’t make no sense no how. And, I have to stop feeling like a foreigner in my own hometown.

Photo from Krewe of O.A.K. Website

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