Mardi Gras Music
I’m in love with my krewe! It’s weird I know, but I know why I love participating in the fabulous, historic Krewe du Vieux. I love the walk through the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. I adore the donkeys who lead our homemade, highly professional floats. Every float has a New Orleans brass band leading it.The Hot 8 Brass Band was in front of us and for the entire parade they positively lit the street on fire with their incredible 2nd line sound.
What I am attracted to more than any other factor when I parade with my Krewe of Underwear is what happens as I pass the crowd that has gathered to watch the parade. Each person I pass has their eyes on me and wants one of my throws. What happens next is amazing. I gain a tiny amount of energy from that encounter, which occurs time and time again as I pass the crowd and connect with them. The crowd doesn’t feel the loss of energy that I gain over and over and over again. When the parade ends I have a very rare feeling of elation that lasts for a couple of days. Then it fades and I’m back to myself.
The feeling is similar to what a musician feels when he is on stage performing. When he/she connects with the audience, they gain the same bit of energy from throughout the crowd over and over. It’s a fabulous, rare experience that helps keep the Mardi Gras floats full of rider decade after decade.
I’m an Escort for the krewe, which is the perfect role for me. I stay sober for the pre party and parade, and I may have a drink or two at the post parade. This allows me to walk with my float, making sure that no ‘incidents’ occur to our krewe, donkey, band and the crowd. No one is allowed to ‘join’ our krewe for more than a minute or two. No messing with our donkey, and if there is an accident or incident, use your whistle to call for help! I also keep our float where it belongs in the parade, and don’t allow the float to speed up or slow down too much.
There’s no stopping the New Orleans Mardi Gras 2012 now. Parades resume tonight with the Krewe of Ancient Druids at 6:30 p.m. and Krewe of Nyx at 7p.m. Both use the Uptown route. So far, my favorite parade has been my own Krewe du Vieux. We have the best parade route of all parades- the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. These are most historic sections of town, as the French Quarter was the original settlement.
Outside of KdV, my 2nd favorite parade was King Arthur, though they ran over an hour late(?) due to a shortness of rider harnesses. The Fire Department has the ultimate say so over this issue, and they delayed the parade until the harnesses were in place. They play an important role in preventing float riders from falling off.
I’ve acquired some new purple, green and gold pieces for my Fat Tuesday costume. My plan for the big day? Start off with Zulu on Jackson Avenue, then on to St. Charles Avenue in time for Rex. Catch a few dozen trucks, then eat some seafood gumbo and an Italian sausage hoagie with peppers & onions. Next, I plan on going downtown to the Marigny, around Frenchmen Street to catch a few Mardi Gras tunes at the numerous cool clubs in that area.
I sure love Mardi Gras in New Orleans!!
This is the first story I can place on both my blogs! That’s great and weird. I’ve got the Mardi Gras Indians angle for this blog, and the NOPD for my watchopp blog, or Watch Orleans Parish Prison. Never thought this would happen, and I never thought of this happening ever. So from my point of view, I’m killing two birds with one stone, sweet!!
It occurred at the meeting of the City Council’s Governmental Affairs Committee a couple of days ago. The audience had Indian Chiefs and their allies, every NOPD district commander, and James Carter, the mayor’s Criminal Justice Commissioner.
NOPD 1st District Commander Bobby Norton said the task is to get every officer to understand the Indian tradition.
I’m very hopeful that an agreement will be reaching, opening a new era for both the Mardi Gras Indians and NOPD. I’m overjoyed this meeting broke new ground, an is moving toward a very historic agreement. Good luck to all parties, and Happy Happy Mardi Gras to all!! Here’s the 1980s version of an Indian group, June Victory and the Bayou Renegades-
After years of harassing the Mardi Gras Indians with police cruisers, their sirens, and lights. Many years arrests occurred as well. The police have enforced a phony curfew on this historic New Orleans tradition, stopping all Indian activity after 6 pm.
Police have further encumbered the Indians by suggesting Indian gangs get parade permits. Councilwoman Susan Guidry stated this was going to end. Jerome Scott, founder of the Tambourine and Fan youth organization, who teaches youngsters about the Indian traditions and New Orleans culture, said the harassment takes the beauty out of it.
“You cannot police a bird,” said Smith.
Under the night sky and perfect weather, the fabulous, one of a kind, historic Krewe du Vieux rolled through the historic Marigny and French Quarter. My Krewe of Underwear, with a donkey pulling the float and a great brass band behind the float, joined the procession as float #6. Our krewe’s theme was “Bayou Beautox.”
Regular Mardi Gras parades in Orleans Parish are banned from the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny since the 1970’s, their big tractors and super floats couldn’t allow emergency vehicles to pass freely around the Quarter.
I’m in a Parade Referee, meaning I’m supposed to stay sober and guard the floats. I keep parade watchers from joining the parade enroute; keep the crowds back while the parade rolls by; and report any medical or dangerous to parade management or police, depending on the situation. I’ve been doing this job for a number of years, and I’ve never had a drink while the parade is rolling and most years I don’t drink at all.
2012 PARADE BRASS BANDS
Baby Boyz Brass Band
Stooges Brass Band
Treme Brass Band
Egg Yolk Jubilee
Hot Eight Brass band
Down and Dirty
The after party was a musical blast! The Brass Band Jam was unbelievable!!
Krewe du Vieux Doo
February 4, 2012
2830 Royal Street
Door opens at 9:00
With close to 1,000 total members, the parade has grown in popularity to the point that a new member can join only when another drops out. It rolled Saturday night through Faubourg Marigny and the French Quarter.
Drips and Discharges‘ 20th anniversary formed a large part of the design for this year’s float, with signs and photos recalling themes of parades past, including “Star Whores” and “Drips and Discharges Are Porn Again.”
For people in an occupation that can often be extremely stressful, the parade provides a creative outlet, subkrewe captain Eileen McKeown said, and a “chance to let our hair down and be a little crazy and forget about it all.”
Krewe du Vieux, now in its 26th year, takes great pride in its uniqueness. It alone, the nonprofit organization boasts on its website, “carries on the old traditions of Carnival celebrations, by using decorated mule-drawn floats with satirical themes, accompanied by costumed revelers dancing in the streets to the sounds of jazzy street musicians.”
This year, under the “Mutha” krewe theme of “Crimes Against Nature,” Drips and Discharges decided to take aim at a German automaker’s appropriation of the Superdome, now known as the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“We thought it was a crime against nature that the Germans own part of New Orleans,” McKeown said of the “Benz Over” theme.
The Dome’s new name came as a surprise to most Orleanians last fall, overnight giving the city’s most famous building a new sign, a new name, a new sponsor and a gigantic light-projected symbol of the foreign automobile manufacturer.
“It’s just business,” said float captain Ellis Chappell, and not entirely unexpected. But nothing is off limits for Krewe du Vieux when it comes to poking fun at the year’s happenings. “If some happy little German company gives you $10 million you go for it,” said Chappell, who, alongside his son Reed, a comic-book artist, spent a week carving a “Superdome with ass cheeks” out of styrofoam for the float.
Chappell said the Drips’ theme meetings are “fueled by pitchers of mojitos,” and the ideas get better with each pitcher.
Krewe members Saturday night wore lederhosen and plastic butt hats and carried staffs topped with the Mercedes-Benz symbol.
McKeown, a physician recruiter, joined Aiken and approximately 30 others in Drips’ 1993 founding march. She said her favorite part of the night is when she hears the opening beats of the brass bands, 19 in total, at the start of the parade. “Your adrenaline starts rolling and never stops,” she said.
Other satirical “Crimes Against Nature” themes included the Krewe of Comatose’s “Dollar General Hospital,” aimed at the leveling of a Mid-City neighborhood for new hospitals; the Krewe of Rue de Bourbon’s “We Are the 1 Percent”; and the Krewe of Underwear’s “Bayou Beautox.”
Also in the lineup were several apocalypse-related themes, including the Krewe of C.R.U.D.E’s (Committee to Revive Urban Decadent Entertainment) “HEY a-POCKY-lypto WAY,” featuring the 2012 Mayan Calendar girls.
This is the biggest 12th night weekend in the history of NOLA, there’s no doubt about that. 12th night is always a bit of a big deal, it’s the true launch of the Carnival Season. Add the Saints big playoff game against Detroit tomorrow and the HUGE BCS Championship Bowl on Monday in the Super dome featuring #1 undefeated LSU against #2 AL, with 1 loss against LSU 9-6.
Add to this the next parade, the 45-member Krewe de Jeanne D’Arc parade rides and strolls in its fourth annual parade to honor the Catholic saint.
- THIS YEAR JOAN AND HER SWORD WILL BE BLESSED IN FRONT OF ST LOUIS CATHEDRAL BY MONSIGNOR KERN AT APPROXIMATELY 6:15 P.M.
- CITY PROCLAMATION ISSUED BY KRISTIN GISLESON PALMER’S OFFICE WILL BE READ BY AN ACTOR PORTRAYING THE FOUNDER OF NEW ORLEANS, JEAN-BAPTISTE LE MOYNE, SIEUR DE BIENVILLE, BEFORE THE PARADE DEPARTS
- SIX JOANS ON HORSEBACK: OUR MAID OF HONOR, OUR WARRIOR JOAN, OUR “JOANIE ON THE PONY” PORTRAYED BY KRISTIN GISLESON PALMER, AND THREE ADDITIONAL JOANS ON WHITE HORSES WILL HONOR JOAN’S 600TH YEAR!
- KING CAKE CEREMONY FOLLOWING THE PARADE WITH SPEECHES IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH BY KREWE KING DAMIEN REGNARD AND KREWE MAID AGGIE BELL AND KING CAKE DONATED BY SUCRE (BUT AS ALWAYS, THE PUBLIC IS ENCOURAGED TO BRING KING CAKES TO EAT AND SHARE!)
The 4th installment of the 2012 Mardi Gras Forecast will be forthcoming in the next few days, after the super exciting weekend!