Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More & More & More Mardi Gras

On Monday we continued our Mardi Gras adventure with a trip to New Orleans with Valerie and Richard where we saw three of the sixty parades the city had for this year's festivities. We went to the Garden District where the parades begin and where it is very much a family affair. The streets were lined with families and kids so it did not include the same level of debauchery that is found near the French Quarter but it is still a great and crazy time. Val and Richard have been to many parades in the city over the years and know how to get in and out while avoiding all the traffic. We were back in Abbeville and in bed by 11:30.

We arrived in the city with enough time to stroll around, have lunch and watch the start of the first parade from a sidewalk cafe. Here we are with our "seed" beads that we were able to grow into a huge collection.

The first parade, Krewe of Tucks, was a rescheduled event from Saturday's rain out. The krewe takes its name from Friar Tucks, a local tavern, and its motto is Booze, Beer, Bourbon, Broads. The theme of this year's parade was Tucks Gets Culture and, as you can see by the King's "throne," they take great joy in poking fun at everything.

Two more cultural floats were, Velvis, in honor of velvet paintings of Elvis and Michelangelo's David Vitter, which poked fun at the Louisiana U.S. Senator who was caught with a prostitute who reported he loved to dress up in diapers. The citizens of LA still saw fit to reelect Vitter. The pic includes a couple of Velvis want-a-bes, Nanc and Valerie.

The culture of these paraders was from the play, Little Shop of Horrors. All parades in New Orleans are sponsored by krewes and no corporate floats are allowed. The theme and the floats of each parade is different from year to year and next year's are already under construction.

Here are the floats Pristine Chapel and Expelling the Culture. The Tucks had a couple of unique "throws" that went with their theme and were different than any others we have seen. In addition to beads and wooden doubloons, they threw tiny plungers and toilet paper. This was the first parade that we have seen where the whole purpose was to poke fun and we loved it.

The next parade, Krewe of Proteus, has the theme of Egyptian Mythology. Proteus was founded in 1882 and is the second oldest krewe in the city. Their throws include 60 inch beads, plastic doubloons and tridents.

The Proteus floats are the most elaborate we saw. They are built on old wagons that still have wooden-spoked wheels dating back to when horses were used to pull them.

Another beautiful Proteus float.

The final parade of the day, Krewe of Orpheus, was founded in 1993 and takes its name from the musical son of Apollo and Calliope. The flambeaux, who are a big part of this night parade, carry on the tradition of how the parades were lit before electricity. A couple marching groups included the Organ Grinders and the Muff-A-Lottas who both dance their way along the entire parade route.

This year's Orpheus celebrities included Poison's, Brett Michaels.

And Cyndi Lauper. This parade with its musical roots includes many local high school bands.

This train float was one of the most fantastic in the parade. It has several cars with flashing lights and the smokestack on the locomotive shot confetti into the air. Orpheus is famous for its large medal doubloons that we were lucky to get last year. I could have had one this year but it would have meant pushing a little kid and an elderly lady out of the way so I let them fight over it.

Here are a few post parade spectators. Valerie with her Tucks paper throw, Nanc with her glowing crown and the many beads she got, Jim with beads after only one parade and an unidentified reveler, whose face I blurred to protect his identity, laying in the parade gravy. We had a wonderful time in NOLA and have to recommend Mardi Gras to anyone who loves having a fun, fun time.

On Fat Tuesday this group of international travelers from Betty's, Gervais and Joycelyn from Quebec; Jim from Pennsylvania; Marie and Cal from Nova Scotia and Cookie and Jim from Washington headed to nearby Kaplan for a small town parade.

This parade was similar to the ones in Church Point and Scott with many local businesses sponsoring floats and many participants dressing in Cajun Mardi Gras costumes. While the floats are not as fancy or the beads as big, these local small town parades are every bit as much fun as the ones in New Orleans.

Even with the rain out on Saturday we still managed to see six parades and collect many beads and other throws while having a great time and even after attending two years in a row, there is still NOTHING like Mardi Gras.


Molly and Bob said...

Looks like fantastic fun!! Love your narrations too!

Anonymous said...

Whoohoo! What a great time we had in NOLA! Love the photo of "He who won't be named" in the gravy!!! Love you two!

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Beads more beads, great pics and post!