This post is perfectly safe for work. Scroll on.
As you may or may not know, The Junior Junkie is a New Orleans blog. I’m born and raised here, and I try to add some fun tidbits about New Orleans life into my blog posts when I can.
That said, I've been absent from blogging over the past few weeks for good reason. Mardi Gras has just come and gone. When it’s such a major part of your life for two weeks out of every year, it’s hard not to talk about, so here is a post about all the shenanigans we've been up to in the Big Easy.
Carnival in a classic sense means to eat meat, used in a time when people would binge in preparation for the purge of Lent that begins Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is that last Tuesday before lent, making it the last day for Catholics to get their party on. All this has evolved, of course, well beyond the religious overtones into an indescribably huge public party here in New Orleans drawing visitors from all over the world.
From the Wednesday before all the way through Fat Tuesday there are multiple parades rolling every night in Uptown and Metairie. On those days everybody gets off work early or doesn’t work at all. Most businesses apart from a few grocery stores are closed on Tuesday, and some are also closed Lundi Gras (Monday).
|Wednesday morning traffic|
The parades are presented by “Krewes” with names like Orpheus, Muses, Hermes, and Nyx. The “Superkrewes” of Endymion and Bacchus roll Saturday and Sunday nights, respectively. Mardi Gras Day is reserved for Rex and Zulu and truck parades featuring several hundred floats. Wednesday night was the relatively new Krewe of Chewbacchus.
Krewes are exclusive clubs sanctioned by the city. They build their own floats with help from Blaine Kern, the official float-maker of Mardi Gras. This is a process that that never ends. As soon as the floats come back from parades, the process of building new floats begins again. A buddy of mine works at Kern Studios and occasionally posts pictures on Facebook of what he is working on that day. We get to see a lot of the float art before the parades roll. He may have the coolest job of anyone I know, although I’m sure would disagree.
Each parade has a theme. Most themes have to do with the city or nature or Greek mythology. Some such as Chaos, D’Etat and Muses are satirical and funny. The floats are mixed with high school, college, and military marching bands as well as dance teams and the occasional ragtag group of mostly-drunk adults either on roller skates or playing instruments. Some do both.
Enough talk - how about some pictures?
Wednesday & Thursday:
|This float was a tribute to the Lucky Dog stands of the French Quarter|
|I thought they did a pretty good job on this Alien.|
|I traded this guy a beer for a few swigs of 12-year-old Glenlivet. Classy.|
|The flambeaux walk around with flaming torches and warm you up for a second in exchange for money.|
|Lots of dance teams and bands, as I said.|
|You see this guy in all the big parades.|
|This is why you don't drink and drive. Cops know what time of year it is.|
|At 4pm, all is quiet on St. Charles Avenue. Just a few hours later it will be chaos.|
|Had me a psycho chicken sandwich from The Milk Bar.|
|These are the guys you yell at for beads.|
|The St. Augustine Marching 100. You'll see them a lot.|
|Some nice floats this year.|
|One of the bagpipers was being carried by two of his fellow pipers. I think he had too much Jameson even for Mardi Gras.|
|Tulane University marching band|
|Don't ask me why they had White Sox tuba covers. This school is in New Orleans.|
|The float designers get a lot of praise.|
|The view from our host's apartment.|
I should mention that where you stand for parades is all about where you have a place to pee. Our place was in our friend Dan's apartment. This was the view of the parade from the balcony.
|If you look really hard at the second green guy on the top, that's my buddy Dave waiting to bombard us with throws.|
|This is a typical Endymion ice chest.|
|It is always the most crowded except for maybe Bacchus.|
|St. Aug again. These kids march every single day of Carnival.|
|Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead throws a stack of Endymion cups.|
|Skywriting this year. We were at a girl named Amy's house, so this was extra fun.|
|Homegirl's got some moves.|
Sunday (French Quarter, Bourbon Street)
|They filmed the latest season of American Horror Story here.|
|St. Louis Cathedral. I love this building.|
|A real Lucky Dog.|
|Starting to get crowded...|
|Girls everywhere clamoring for beads.|
|This guy was wearing an Ian Kinsler shirt.|
|Even as a local, this is still where I get my hurricanes.|
|3pn, St. Charles is nice and empty.|
|If you ever decide to make it down here, and you walk down St. Charles and see this thing, go stand in front of it and yell "Griffey sucks." Odds are I'll hear that and come say hello. We may also have words.|
|See the wagon wheels? This is and Rex are the only two parades I know of that still use them.|
|Harry Connick Jr is in Orpheus every year. I caught some beads from him, too!|
|Quentin Tarantino was king of Orpheus.|
|See those blue beads?|
|Yeah, those. I caught those! I don't keep many beads, but these are staying with me.|
|Preparing for the big day at Rouse's on Power Dr.|
|This is about what a Mardi Gras day shopping cart looks like.|
Tuesday (Mardi Gras morning)
|I took a picture of these guys....|
|Then all their friends joined in and I had to take another.|
I'd like to show you more of Mardi Gras Day, but to be honest I don't remember a whole lot, and at one point the phone just stayed in my pocket. I remember something about a bartender putting a shot of Jim Beam in front of me and me taking it, but it was meant for someone else and then we all did Irish car bombs? Something like that. Anyway, I got a ride home and slept for 10 hours so all is well.
Also, this is only about 20% of the pictures I took. If you want to see the rest of what I saw, you'll just have to come down here.
God bless New Orleans. Laissez les bon temps rouler.