Monday, February 8, 2016

Using the ole bean

Lundi Gras is the Monday before Mardi (Tuesday) Gras. And in New Orleans, folks traditionally cook red beans and rice on Monday.

So it only makes sense that there would be a parade on Lundi Gras that celebrates the humble bean.

It's the Red Bean Parade! Everybody creates costumes by gluing dried beans on their clothes. The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Throw me somethin' mister!

 It's a brief but intense infatuation; a deep and yearning need. You vie with others for his attention, pleading.

Yes, humiliating as it may be, you even beg him.

You try to catch his eye - that cold, appraising eye. It assesses you, determining your worth. Do you deserve what he has to give you?

But he moves on, heeding the blandishments of others beyond you.

You fix your hopes on the next one that comes along.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Parading Uptown

The Mystic Krewe of Hermes is one of the old line Mardi Gras krewes, founded in 1938 by a group of businessmen. Their parade has been rolling on the Friday before Mardi Gras since then, their floats decked out with neon and accompanied by marchers bearing flambeaux, or flaming torches.

We finished up dinner at Pascal's Manale restaurant, and when we came out on Napoleon Avenue, we could see the parade moving on St. Charles Avenue a couple of blocks down. We headed down there, dodging around the construction barriers for the seemingly endless storm sewer project that's been tearing up Napoleon for months.

French Quarter high jinks

When most tourists think of New Orleans, they think of the French Quarter, the oldest part of the city. Full of bars, strip clubs, souvenir stores, and old-line Creole restaurants, the place is a magnet for bachelorette parties, spring-break frat boys, gay pride gatherings and vampire enthusiasts. With a liberal attitude toward public drinking, honky tonk music, and taking things to excess, the place is a people-watching Nirvana on a regular day. During Carnival season you can double that.

Friday, February 5, 2016

My haul

Muses rolls Uptown. Photo by Christopher Waterman
Last night was the Krewe of Muses parade Uptown. I was in class, so I couldn't go, but my friends Chris, John and Donna went.

Donna came back with a big haul of throws she caught. There are beads and flashing light-up things and a stack of cups. She even got a Muses tote bag to keep it all in!

This is the haul she generously shared with me!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Shelter from the storm

It had been threatening to storm all day. We were sitting on the front porch late at night when she showed up.

A stray pug, no collar. Out late at night, alone.

Who is she?

There's a storm brewing. I want to shelter her. We are keeping here over night until we can find her owner.

UPDATE: This morning I went out with her on a leash, and there was a woman stapling flyers on the phone pole. As soon as she saw the dog, she let out a cry of joy.

The dog is named Tulip and she's our neighbor around the corner on Royal Street. But last night, she had a great pajama party with Jack and our house guest Noodles.

Monday, February 1, 2016

My Indian Red

The Mardi Gras Indian tradition is an old one, and often overlooked by tourists. This amazing cultural world has usually been hidden away from the glitter and glitz of the big Super-Krewe parades; most of America didn't know it even existed until David Simon's TV series Treme introduced us to the character of Big Chief Albert Lambreaux.

The Mardi Gras Indian tradition is said to date back to the late 19th century, when groups of African-Americans formed both the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs that still march through New Orleans today, and loosely organized "tribes" that masked in fanciful versions of Indian costumes on Mardi Gras Day. What people often tell you is that these suits resembling the headresses and garb of plains Native American tribes paid tribute to Native American people who sheltered runaway slaves; but scholarly research indicates that it's a little more complicated than that.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Going to the dogs

Today was the Krewe of Barkus parade in the French Quarter; a canine Mardi Gras. The elected King and Queen of the year are dogs, naturally.

Silly little things

The 'tit Rex parade is a silly little thing. Literally. This odd-ball Mardi Gras parade consists of teeny-tiny floats, all built on the base of a shoe-box. 'tit Rex's name (pronounced "Tee Rex") includes the Cajun diminutive for "petit," and it's a joke, playing on the venerated and famous super-parade, Krewe of Rex.

Though small, the floats are often marvels of engineering, with mechanical figures and flashing lights. The wee, intricate floats are pulled by ropes, their black-clad marchers like so many children with pull-toys.