Archive for March, 2012
Lafayette’s Mardi Gras has it over New Orleans in this respect. We have no Carnival criminal drama of this intertwined variety at all. This story wins the prize for Carnival depravity for 2012!!
The peaceful Mardi Gras celebration turned violent for three Lafayette residents on Tuesday, February 21, resulting in a woman being knocked unconscious and a Hub City doctor’s arrest. Lafayette developer and Dr. Glenn Stewart was arrested without incident Tuesday night at his home. He is charged with second-degree battery.
The charges stem from a one sided fight that took place Tuesday at around 12:40 P. M. near the start of the Independent Parade (which is not associated with the Independent newspaper) route. Stewart’s float referenced Lafayette newspaper publisher Cherry Fisher May and her August 2010 DUI arrest.
The incident was prompted by the Mardi Gras float Stewart entered into the Independent Parade featuring Cherry Fisher May (the victim’s Mother) as the “driver” of the float with the warning on big banners: Caution!!! Float Driven by Cherry Fisher May. Stewart also ran Fisher May’s mug shot from her 2010 DUI arrest.
The parade has stated they were unaware of the personal attack banners Stewart covered the sides of his float with at the last minute.
Read here for more on Stewart’s relentless retaliation against the Independent Weekly for its coverage of an agricultural tax loophole he took advantage of for his Parc Lafayette development at the corner of Kaliste Saloom Road and Camellia Boulevard.
According to Lafayette police, Erin May Fitzgerald, 41, Lafayette, approached Stewart’s float near the start and attempted to remove a banner. Stewart confronted Fitzgerald, who is also Fisher May’s stepdaughter.
Fitzgerald’s stepfather, John St. Julien, 60, Lafayette, intervened, sparking an altercation between the two men. St. Julien took photographs after she was knocked out. Those photographs show Stewart taking pictures of the unconscious woman.
Fitzgerald was hit in the face during the fight, knocking her out and leaving her with facial injuries. She was treated at a local hospital.
Stewart and St. Julien each were issued a misdemeanor summons for disturbing the peace by fighting. Fitzgerald also received a misdemeanor summons for disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. The case remains under investigation.
While Stewart paid all fees and met regulations for his float, Independent Parade Organizers said they weren’t aware of its content and said this type of signage should not be allowed. In a written statement, Chairman Mike Mitchell said, they can’t let this ever happen again. This can’t be in our parade. He said the committee will re-examine their signage rules.
It’s possible Dr. Stewart could lose his medical license for harming her, then failing to aid the woman he punched. Ms. Fitzgerald has apologized for messing with the float. We’ll have to see how this plays out.
This is the second entry that goes on both my blogs- Watchopp and my Mardi Gras blog as well. We can thank the Legislative Auditor‘s office for this one, they released the report that the Kerns used the movie tax credits to build floats in 2006 instead of their unfinished documentary, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras: Building of the Greatest Free Show on Earth. The Kerns own Mardi Gras World, a New Orleans institution. They build REX, Bacchus, Orpheus, Endymion, Muses, and Alla, among others.
Barry Kern’s huge response to the Auditor report states that the practices the Kerns followed were somewhat widespread at the time among live entertainment documentaries that applied for the tax credit during the same time period. Those productions include Jazz Fest, Voodoo Fest and Essence Fest. That’s pretty esteemed company for the Kerns to be keeping. I guess French Quarter Festival kept their nose clean on this live entertainment documentary mess. Good for them!!
Barry Kern thinks his dad, Blaine Kern Sr., notified the Legislative Auditor about the tax credit situation. That made Barry Kern very mad. If Dad’s objective was to make Barry mad, it worked. The Kern family is in the middle of well known legal battle for control of the Kern empire. Barry started the legal feud, and Blaine is doing his best to continue it. This is the juiciest, saddest public legal family battle we’ve seen in quite some time. My condolences to all involved.
The big news in the case is at the end of February 2012, the Louisiana Appeals Court overturned the lower court and gave Kern Sr. back control. They threw out the deal the Kerns brokered with the key Mardi Gras Captains, and lifted the temporary injunction against Kern Sr.
That means the lawsuit, in which Barry Kern accused his father of ruining the company, will go back to Orleans Civil District Court for a full hearing.
Barry Kern now has 14 days to appeal the ruling to the full Fourth Circuit bench for a rehearing. Otherwise, the case will be sent back for trial before Judge Kern Reese.
So if the elder Kern is back running the business, why would he contact the Legislative Auditor and draw attention to the possible misuse of tax credits? To embarrass Barry for sure is probably the only reason. The elder Kern oversaw the building of those floats, not his son, more than five years ago.
The Kerns’ movie was billed as a look at the history, design, building and production of Carnival and Mardi Gras floats, with a focus on the 2007 season, according to the Legislative Auditor’s report.
Last year’s Parade of the Year, Muses, has taken a step back, as their 2012 floats lacked first rate execution. Blaine Kern didn’t do his usual excellent work for a relatively new super krewe. The floats moved so quickly it was difficult to get a good look.
Their own floats sparkled as usual (also made by Kern). Super krewes draw a huge audience, which often brings out the boorish behavior in many hard drinking spectators, as they jostle the crowd in pursuit of Muses’ vaunted logoed throws.
Not too long ago, Muses was a new krewe that drew much smaller crowds. The sheer number of unique throws, memorable floats and biting satire hadn’t caught on yet. Any ordinary Joe could catch a shoe back then. Those days are way over now.
Muses throws were not anything special for 2012. Check out the YouTube video above, that is one cool fan!! I caught it several years ago. I’m waiting for another out-of-the-box throw.
Their throws included a number of new logoed items, including a band-aid box; a coin purse on a lanyard; a bottle opener/flashlight on a bead and a floating liquid pen. The most original of those throws is the floating liquid pen. That’s a fun writing tool!
I rate Muses number 3 for 2012.
Number 2 is REX, the King of Carnival. They are the oldest daytime parade and still roll on wooden wagon wheels.
REX is number 2 for their historic use of wagon wheels, plus several other important factors. It was a perfect day, and REX is a daytime parade. Blaine Kern builds this parade, and it’s their number 1 showcase daytime parade. The paint job was gorgeous! Kudos to the Kern painting team.
REX introduced their new Butterfly King float for 2012.
REX had several good bands, including the United States Army and the Tulane University Marching Bands. Monroe’s High School Marching Band delivered a strong performance as well. By the time REX rolls on Fat Tuesday, most high school bands are unable to march anymore due to marching limits imposed by the City Council.
The floats looked terrific, as did the krewe’s costumes. The throws were typically REX with a couple of exceptions- they had a fancy cloisonne pin celebrating the new Butterfly King float and re-introduced the plush crown they first threw a few years ago.
Number 1 for 2012 goes to Hermes!! They had it all together in 2012, and that’s a very tall order.
Their bands were top notch- St. Augustine, Xavier Prep, L.B. Landry, McDonogh 35 and several out-of-state bands all marched with Hermes.
Hermes’ throws were improved. They threw plastic Hermes goblets, a light up Hermes headband with plastic wings (D’Etat threw the same headband in purple with the D’Etat logo instead of wings), light up medical caduceus beads, blinky winged shoe beads and a light up ball. A nice throw this year was a crawfish/centipede stuffed toy in Mardi Gras colors. I’m not sure if this an official Hermes toy or a generous generic one.
The floats were top of the line old fashioned, marked by striking colors and expressive prop figures, wonderfully detailed, and an abundance of bouncing paper ornaments, including flowers, grapes, snowflakes and more. The floats moved at a reasonable pace and the traditional flambeaux were interspersed with the floats as were the Lieutenants on horseback, who dispensed purple riding doubloons.
As per tradition, the Hermes captain leads the parade in full regalia on a white horse.
Special Mention goes to the Mystic Krewe of Proteus for the float work of Royal Artists. They have a web site here, it apparently hasn’t been updated for a couple of years, as they are Bordeaux Street uptown and the site lists the North Shore.