Krewe du Vieux Rolls in French Quarter and Marigny!!
Happy Mardi Gras! I say it often, and I’ll say it again- If you are living in New Orleans and you are not a member of a Carnival krewe, you are missing the boat on what is a seminal New Orleans experience.
The very large crowd watching our parade was tricked out in fine costumes. I’ve never seen so many costumes at our parade before. And most of them spent time on their look. Lots of complex face painting on the route and themed costumes were very popular as well. This bodes very well for what has been a dying tradition, costuming. On Fat Tuesday for example, the vast majority of folks on the parade routes are in their street clothes with no face paint. If you go to the Marigny, however, I would estimate that over half the people on the street costume on Fat Tuesday.
Not only was the parade fabulous, but once again the ball after the parade was more than magnificent. The Dumpstaphunk version of the great Mardi Gras Indian funksters, the 101 Runners, was the best Mardi Gras funk show I’ve seen in a very long time. Krewe du Vieux members know how to let their hair down and dance. Last Saturday night in the big concert room of the Trash Palace, 1,000 ball goers danced furiously to 101 Runners, it was an inspiring sight. The stellar band included Ivan Neville, June Yamagishi, and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
A big part of marching with ample throws is the connection with the audience. When parade goers ask for a throw from a krewe member and their eyes meet, a tiny bit of energy flows from the parade watcher to the krewe member. At the end of a long parade, the amount of energy aggregated charges and energizes a krewe member for a couple of days. It’s a subtle but noticeable feeling.
The satirical, adult aspect of the krewe built floats and individual throws of the 17 sub krewes adds a zaniness to the procession. The same is true of the floats, which skewer and laud political, cultural, and social trends and truths with an emphasis on the sexual. The krewe theme, Where the Vile Things Are, was a tribute to Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, the late great children’s author.
Live music can cast a spell that is palatable. When the big three of live music- the venue, the crowd, and the band all come together, a higher conscientiousness envelopes the room and is shared by the audience and band, which is the nirvana accomplishment of a wildly successful live gig.
The hard core costuming of KdV members, the very cool Trash Palace locale, and the breathtaking Mardi Gras Indian funk led by Ivan Neville and June Yamagishi adds up to the KdV ball improving markedly in 2014. The ball like the parade have been legendary in their effective party atmosphere for decades. They always have the best grass routes parade with a huge focus on historical detail that is endearing to anyone who loves New Orleans, especially the unique culture of New Orleans.
The mule-pulled handmade floats, the brass band only music hiring policy, the hard hitting, ribald satire of the best and worst of New Orleans in the floats are all from another era. The mother krewe puts out a yearly theme, and the dozen and a half sub krewes interpret that theme in their own artistic way in their own float and throws.
The weather played a big role. It was picture perfect sunny in the mid 50s when the sun went down and the venue’s lack of heat didn’t color the crowd’s reaction and make lots of people leave early from the cold.
The two most important parades of the last decade are Muses and Krewe du Vieux. These two processions have excited the public and the media like no others. Of course KdV is far older than a decade, but it’s reputation has grown exponentially over this time period. Muses is a standard parade while KdV is an alternative parade. Still they share a lot of great parade qualities. Both parades march to the beat of their own drummer, not anyone elses.
I’m an Escort for Krewe of Underwear. That position works with my drinking plan for the day. I don’t drink during the pre parade party nor during the parade. If you don’t drink for the parade, you should be an Escort.
I have a few drinks at the ball, where I let what’s left of my hair down. I always costume seriously for KdV. Generally I wear a version of my Fat Tuesday outfit, which is purple, green and gold (pgg). I generally wear a tunic, hat, mask, and cape, all pgg.