KREWE DU VIEUX ROLLS BEFORE LARGE CROWDS
The night might have been cold, but the crowd gathered for KdV was anything but. It was an overflowing, warm crowd welcoming in the 2010 parade season. KdV didn’t disappoint , with their well made, home made floats, skewering Mayor Nagin, Bill Jefferson, etc; their 17 brass bands & 18 mules; plus their wildly original throws, including golden dreidels, devil match books, Mardi Gras colored, handmade bead encrusted match boxes, and much more. We caught an illegal Saints bath towel- black with a gold Fleur de Lis.
I’m in KdV, and it’s an indescribable experience, rolling down the historic streets of the Marigny and French Quarter, meeting and greeting thousands of Mardi Gras and Saints revelers. Yes, it was absolutely freezing last night with a howling wind, but the city and the crowd embraced our parade as they always do and will, and it’s among the greatest feelings in the world. Running into old friends, making new ones, there’s many layers to the fun of Carnival. You could tell the crowd was having a ball as much as the krewe members.
Once the parade assembles and starts rolling, it’s 2.5 hours of screaming “Happy Mardi Gras! & “Who Dat!” & “Go Saints!” over and over, and high fiving thousands and thousands of folks lining the parade route. As a Guardian for the Krewe of Underwear, I stood next to my float, guarding it from overzealous fans, constantly checking behind me to make sure the krewe members were keeping behind the float but in front of the marching band.
A complete parade unit- band, marching krewe members and donkey pulled float tends to undergo a Slinky-type maneuver as the parade progresses. The 3 discrete units get too close together, then too far apart, imitating a Slinky’s motion. This occurs when krewe members get occupied and slow down to a crawl. The band closes in from behind, and the float moves ahead.
The Krewe of underwear’s band last night was Egg Yolk Jubilee. They were terrific, playing a wide variety of marching music.
When you high five someone, your eyes meet, and you form an instantaneous Mardi Gras and/or Saints connection that lasts a microsecond, before the next high five begins. It’s a bit of a power grab by the krewe member that only lasts for a moment, since the parade goers want a throw, and only the krewe members have those throws. These moments aggregate over the 150 minutes the parade is on the street and impart a good feeling that lasts a few days.
That feeling dissipates slowly over the next couple of days, but each time you remember the experience, that great feeling returns for an instant- you are happy!
One notable aspect of the KdV floats that has become much more obvious to the krewe members is how professional the floats construction has become. The sub krewe members decide themselves what their float theme is, what materials to use in construction, and and built it themselves. Over the decades, these amateur float builders have learned carpentry, paper mache sculptures making , building & maintaining float carriages, lighting, and any other skilled crafts necessary for their float’s execution. I was positively amazed at how professional in all aspects the finished Underwear float was.