Monday, February 1, 2016

part deux

Another noteworthy day yesterday.  i just love the pace of life around here--so friendly, relaxed, yet focussed on creative endeavors with a passion and tenacity that is inspiring.

yesterday began with a stop at the mask and costume sale at the St. Claude healing arts.  AMAZING and beautiful work; head pieces, masks, costumes.  mostly hand made by the vendors.  after drooling over it all for awhile i succeeded in extracting myself and biked over to Armstrong Park, the staging ground for Barkus,  the all dog Mardi Gras parade (the name is a play on the well-renowned Krewe of Bacchus).   \  there was a band, food for sale, and so many adorable dogs decked out in tutus, beads, little costumes; even some luck float-riders!  i wandered around taking pictures for my dog-loving friends. then headed into the garden district/downtown area.
Jackie O.


the day was warm and sunny, pleasant for biking.  pretty soon though i got completely tied up in the downtown parade route--with parade route consolidation, there can be as many as 5 parades that run through the same area, one after the other.  i got trapped on the wrong side of the barricade.  paused for  a minute to check out a high school marching band playing and marching ultra-tight, and to see the baby dolls.  eventually i managed to get across the barricade and make my way over to the levee for the final samba practice.

everyone looked awesome for the dress rehearsal; bright turquoise, silver, gold, with fabulous headpieces and tassels hanging everywhere....we marched and danced through the streets followed by our 25 person strong drum corps and people came out of their houses to watch, whoop, cheer us on.  it was exhausting to keep that high energy dancing going but the people cheering gave me a notable energy boost.

after practice, i caught the bus back to the treme, and couldn't help stopping in at the yellow pocahantos mardi gras indian practice.  the energy in there is just so infections and hypnotizing.  i can't get enough.  then biking back to my neighborhood, there was another surprise mardi gras indian practice outside st. roch market!  they even had an enormous headdress with them.

the culture here is so complex, rich and unique.  people care for each other in very sweet ways; even strangers on the street.  there's a laid back attitude about time that can mean that things start anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour late.  Bars and venues frequently serve free or cheap food, so its hard to go hungry for very long.  AND, many streets aren't fully paved, many houses are still quietly molding or half torn down, healthy food can be hard to come by.  Crime is an issue (though not for me so far....)

But the joy and love that spills out of people is infectious and exhilarating.  i've never felt anything else quite like it, and i'm having pre-nostalgia for it already.