Mardi Gras took me by surprise. I'm not a party person, so i just assumed i'd lay low, practice my fiddle, sleep in.....mmmmmm.....
Thursday night, Muses; one of the Big parades that passes through the wealthy uptown neighborhoods. There's a science to proper parading, involving the logistics of getting yourself through parade traffic to the parade start, and ensuring your transport home at the parade's end. I rode my bike to the parade's end on the glitzed out Canal Street and met up with John David. We took an interminable busride through the parade route traffic to the end of its abbreviated route, a mile from the parade's start. The final mile was a treat, viewing floats, ogling dance troupes, riding on the mounting energy in the streets.
|Muses Naughty Floats|
We made it to the meet up point for Bloco Seirea, the Brazilian drum and dance troupe that i'd been praticing with and began the 2 hour spree of final costume touches-face painting-whiskey to stay warm-dashes into winn dixie for /last minute supplies/pee breaks. The winn dixie was teeming with feathered folks, sequined, shining in different colors and themed costumes. It was like a colorful carnival caravan had exploded in the middle of your local grocery store.
finally we got the word that it was time to fall in; we were the parade's caboose in front of the final float. the drums kicked off and we launched into our choreography. people screamed and cheered for us. We were a cloud of blue, metallic shine, LED lights dancing through the streets. our supply truck followed behind towing a flat bed truck with a beautifully decorated portapotty and coolers full of snacks and water. we stumbled through the choreography, then grew more confident and soon we were one united block of drum and movement, ecstatically moving through the street. For. four. HOURS!!!!! of solid dancing. i took a couple of breaks, sitting on the flat bed and pretending i was a float rider, resting and eating clementines. people smiled and waved at me, delighted at the quirkiness of riding on a portapotty float. towards the end we got a block of free dance and the energy surged through me, of this amazing music, of the night, the people cheering us on, LIFE. 45 degrees warm we arrived, exhausted and ecstatic, at the end.
Friday, rest day.
Saturday--up early and with a plan and backpack full of supplies. biking through the quiet morning,wheels crunching on last nights beads. bike locked at the parade's end (today: Tucks). a quiet and speedy busride, pre-parade, to uptown. a bus stop stool seat as i ate my sandwich in sequined booty shorts. Iris parade gathers, and I enjoyed being a spectator for 30 minutes cheering on the High School bands and ducking under the flying beads. Then, heading to the parade-start for Tucks to linger with my fellow orange and blue clad dancers. wandering to the nearby park, a staging ground for at least 10 different HS bands as they battled, breaking into their finest numbers, overlapping one another starting as one concluded. confident, sassy girls whipping through choreography. electric.
|High Schoolers on the March|
parade kicks off; finding the motley crew of panoramblers, jazz/balkan/klezmer brass brand extraordinaire. we kick off early in the parade, cutesy choreo in our small band of sass and sequins. parading and prancing through the sunny day, warm. relaxed, leisurely breaks on St. Charles. shakin it. a pleasant pace, people love us. Tired and happy, we arrive back to Canal Street and the parade's finish. Seems like the right time to view an entire parade so i linger and cheer on the remaining paraders as they round the final bend; beleaguered High School marching bands, having marched 5 miles with their instruments and their pride. accidentally catch a throw; giant rubber snake that i wind around my bike. endless parade--another hour but i'm committed to seeing at least one of these giant spectacle parades despite my aching feet. finally, chill sets in as evening comes on and i don my layers for the bike ride home, shining and happy. must. sleep.
|My fellow revelers at dawn|
|The Mudlark Theatre|
Home; with a plan to sleep early and wake at dawn for Eris, the secret witches parade rumoured to end at The End of The World. A live wire, I drift excitedly in an out of sleep for a few hours, and eventually awake promptly at 1am. New outfit; layers and sparkles and flowers. To the Mudlark Theatre, where folks are cuddled on the floor for the midnight nap time show. Sweet Harp music and a live reading from Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics. Around 4am, the mystically costumed creatures begin to gather in front of the theatre. Grocery
cart floats and a somber brass band fall in and we parade through the middle of the night mist and chill, down to the river, through the french quarter where we briefly merge with the dregs of the middle of the night revelers, back to the river where we get briefly separated by a passing train, then reunite at the river front. my group remains for the sunrise; as the orange breaks over the Mississippi, a bagpipe's keening wail floats out over the water. home and joaquin cooks us shrimp and grits. tired happy rest.
|post eris revelers at dawn|