Archive for April, 2010

Out of Town High School Band Member Talks About His Mardi Gras Experience


Not a big fan of the NOLA Mardi Gras blog because of a participant named Bacchusrider, a big bully and worse, but this story was just too cool to pass up. This from, and was written by Anthony Veiga with Taylor Clarke from the Post-Standard.

Parade made all the work worthwhile

Contributing writer

Last summer my high school’s jazz band set out to raise money to help pay for a trip to New Orleans. We knew that selling candy bars and baked goods wouldn’t get us enough money, so we performed a dozen gigs. Had it been any other trip, all this fundraising might not have been sustained, especially over the summer, but we were excited and determined to perform in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

When we left, just days after the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl and at the start of the Mardi Gras festivities, we knew our dedication over the summer was going to be worth it.

After a 24-hour bus trip, we arrived in our host city, Chalmette, and were shown to a mansion where we watched our first Mardi Gras parade. The shower of beads that were thrown at us (none earned in the well-known manner) were all very different in color and size.

Our first morning there, we awoke to a performance by the Chalmette High School jazz and concert ensembles. They clearly had the “Southern” jazz style down, and when they played “When the Saints Go Marching In” chills went down our spines. We followed with our own “Northern” version of the song. We played as in tune and loud as possible, convincing some Chalmette students that the northern “funk” way was the only way to play that song.

We spent the rest of the day sightseeing on a jazz cruise and resting up for our big event the following day: playing in a 13.5-mile-long Mardi Gras parade with the Chalmette musicians.

Before the parade, we learned a Southern-style dance with the other students, which got us even more excited for the parade. At the launch site we assumed our position at the front of the entire parade: students from Mexico Academy were going to lead the Krewe of Thoth. We played our hearts out. It was tiring, but we continued on and 13.5 miles later, when the end came, everyone thought it was worth it. In fact, some wanted to keep going.

When we arrived, we weren’t sure we could make it through such a long parade. We left New Orleans only wanting to return and be a part of Mardi Gras all over again.

Zulu coconut lawsuit thrown out on appeal


Yes, Mardi Gras parade goers still sue even though most locals and many tourists know that you cannot sue from being hit by a throw in New Orleans in almost all cases.

Daisy Johnson Palmer, a 74-year-old retired Orleans Parish public schoolteacher, wants the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club to pay for the bloody cut, and ensuing trauma, she says came from a coconut lobbed in her direction Feb. 28, 2006, as Zulu paraded down Canal Street.

Four years later, though, a Louisiana appeals court tossed out her case after finding that her claims of trauma from a hollowed-out Zulu coconut thrown underhanded into the French Quarter crowd didn’t merit a trial at Orleans Parish Civil District Court. Palmer’s attorney, Edwin Fleischmann, said he is awaiting the final decision from the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Zulu’s rules say that the throwing of coconuts is “positively forbidden,” as is tossing any throws to the rear of a float. In 2004, Vice president Naaman Stewart was one of Zulu’s most vocal advocates for the adoption of a lightweight coconut, hollowed-out, shaved coconuts purchased in bulk from a Vietnam supplier and shipped to New Orleans where members decorate & paint them.  An average store-bought coconut filled with milk & meat can weigh up to 1 1/2 lbs.

Float builders would get new civil suit immunity under House bill


The House Commerce Committee voted without dissent Tuesday to expand existing immunity from Mardi Gras-related civil lawsuits to include float builders and other service providers to krewes.

Current law protects krewes or other parading organizations and their members from any civil actions arising from any loss or injury suffered during a parade except in cases of a “wanton act or gross negligence” or in cases where the defendant was driving a motor vehicle during the parade. House Bill 902 by Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-Algiers, would add “any service provider” of the krewes to the list of protected individuals and businesses.

Arnold said he may amend the bill on the House floor to make it clear that a float builder could still be sued for “gross negligence,” though that standard puts a high burden of proof on a plaintiff.

“We just don’t want somebody who gets hit in the face with beads to be able to look down the list and say, ‘Oh, I’ll sue the float builder,'” Arnold said. “They really should have been included when we first passed” the Mardi Gras immunity law.

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