Posts tagged Faubourg 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.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is under three weeks away! In the middle of all that, we are hosting the Super Bowl, featuring the Baltimore Ravens vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Mardi Gras will be taking a nine day vacation while we host Super Bowl XLVII in the venerable Super Dome!!
We are having an incredible month, with President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, MLK Day, plus the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras! Whew!! That’s a lot of huge events for any month in New Orleans. Of course, the President’s inauguration and MLK Day occur all over the USA, From New York to California and all points in between.
The 2013 Carnival season kicks off in high gear this weekend with lots of parades on the St. Charles Avenue route. Oshun, Cleopatra, Pontchartrain, Choctaw, Sparta, Pygmalion, Carrollton, and King Arthur all roll down the traditional route.
Can you guess how many parades from the list immediately above are older than 20 years old originated on St. Charles Avenue?
Uno Un One. Which one?
Sparta, which began in 1951. There are plenty of old neighborhood parades in that list. Can you guess them?
Cleopatra paraded for 39 years across the Mississippi River before changing to St. Charles for 2013.The New Orleans City Council voted on yesterday (January 24) allowing the ladies krewe from the west bank to move their parade to the traditional New Orleans uptown route. The Krewe of Cleopatra will kick off the Carnival Season on January 25, 2013, the first Friday of Mardi Gras.
Captain Dolores Kepner says,This is the perfect year for us to move our parade to the New Orleans uptown route. It opens up tremendous possibilities for the first weekend of Mardi Gras. We are honored to be a part of that.
Choctaw is parading down St. Charles for the first time in 2013, and has plans to return to their traditional parading grounds, the West Bank, in 2014. King Arthur (1977) also started on the West Bank. Pontchartrain began in the Lakeview area, marching on Hayne Boulevard by the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Carrollton first paraded in their namesake neighborhood. Oshun and Pygmalion started on St. Charles, but they are newer parades.
That leaves only the Knights of Sparta as an historic procession originating on St. Charles. The Knights of Sparta are often mis-named the Krewe of Sparta!
There are two non-conformist parades out in the Faubourg Marigny over this weekend- ‘tit Rәx, and Chewbacchus, and both roll Saturday in the Marigny. ‘Tit Rәx used to be named ‘tit Rex, until the King of Carnival, the Monarch of Merriment, sued tiny little ‘tit Rex for stealing their name! As can be seen from the photo below, ‘tit Rәx is a miniature hand made float procession, not a full sized parade like Rex. I don’t think Rex made the proper decision, but tit ‘Rәx’s solution to turn the ‘e’ in Rex into a ‘schwa’ which is what a ‘ә‘ is.
Chewbacchus is a science fiction kind of krewe which features costumes and hand pulled floats in the Star Wars tradition.
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.
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.
I had more fun last night with my krewe than I’ve had since…I last rolled with my krewe a year ago! I’m an Escort, meaning I play the role of Security Guard for my float, along with several other Escorts. Since KdV rolls through Marigny & the Vieux Carre, the streets are narrow and the huge crowds last night had to be kept off the float for most of the parade.
The weather was wonderful and warm, so unlike any other KdV parade I’ve been associated with or watched. This is always a cold weather parade, since it runs very early in the Carnival Season. What a wonderful, unexpected, delightful change!
Get involved in our big local holiday, and JOIN a krewe and RIDE (or walk)!! It is a big part of New Orleans’ identity, and the feeling is indescribable. I like to interact with the crowd, I high five as many spectators as I can, while screaming, “Happy Mardi Gras to you, & you, & you, etc.” I do this for 10 minutes on, 5 minutes off for the entire 2.5 mile route. As we high five, our eyes meet, and I get a small rush of energy. At the end of the parade, you have aggregated so many interactions with parade goers that you feel high, high on life. The world is a way better place during parades.
KdV has unique, themed throws. Each sub krewe has their own sub krewe throw(s); however, any member can produce a limited edition throw and throw it alone or with fellow krewe members. The krewe throw may be a fly swatter, or sticker, or bumper sticker, dreidel, etc. The type of throw may stay the same, but the contents change. The two krewe-wide throws, the cup and wooden nickel, are used every year but dressed up with the new theme.
The crowd last night seemed very special. I was amazed at the high number of coordinated costumes and big time painted faces in the crowd throughout Marigny and French Quarter. There were more people in very nice costumes with superb make up than I’ve ever seen for KdV. I guess it was all the costume parties along the parade route? Otherwise, I cannot explain this phenomena.
A few words about the truly memorable parading music provided by the Krewe of Underwear band, Egg Yolk Jubilee. Here’s a wonderful 2001 video of EYJ with the Emperor of the Universe himself, Ernie K-Doe!! We used EYJ last year, and they were hired back this year.
The fabulous weather had a big effect on the crowd, more Last night, it was 6o degrees at parade time! While dancing my ass off to the fabulous New Orleans Radiators, I sweated to KdV like never before.
When the Rads started after the Brass Band Jam, the KdV party gained traction and moved up a level. The Rads are on their farewell tour and I feel lucky we had them for our party last night. They didn’t disappoint and showed they are leaving at the top of their game after 35 years and 4,500 concerts! They will be sorely missed.
Didn’t make it past the Rads to the more unbelievable Trixie Minx, as I wore out a bit from 9 hours of fun & parade work. Didn’t drink last night, so it wasn’t the alcohol eventually getting me down.
Before there was KdV, there was its predecessor, Krewe of Clones. Clones grew directly out of the Contemporary Arts Center. The CAC ran the parade, and the parade staging area was the CAC parking lot on Camp Street. It was an arty, satirical parade from the start. I still have an original 1984 Krewe of Clones T shirt with the theme Barbie & Ken go to the World’s Fair.
After watching the parade one year in front of the CAC, we noticed the CAC Parade Marshall was drinking heavily over the couple of hours it took the parade to leave the staging parking lot.
The next year, we hatched a plan to crash the parade with our own float, taking advantage of the Marshall’s inebriation. We decorated our VW van into an elephant float by dying some sheets gray, and constructing a paper mache trunk, ears, and tail.
The night of the parade, we drove our float into position next to the CAC. When the parade was almost out of the staging area, we took advantage of the loose formation conditions, and drove our float straight onto the route. The Parade Marshall waved us on. For the next few years, we morphed that old van into other animals, and continued to crash the parade until the Krewe perished from infighting.
As stated, I’m in the Krewe of Underwear. Here, straight from the Krewe’s of Underwear website is the rest of the story:
The Krewe of Underwear was founded in [the early 1980s] as a sub-krewe of the storied Krewe of Clones. This wild, satirical Carnival parade, which first marched in 1978, was based out of New Orleans’ Contemporary Arts Center.
- Unfortunately, in 1986, infighting among the Krewe/CAC leadership, combined with pressures from the City due to the parade occurring the night before the Super Bowl was to be played in New Orleans, caused the untimely demise of the Krewe of Clones. Not wishing to be denied a good time or any excuse for wild excess, the Krewe of Underwear along with another Clones sub-krewe, the Krewe of Mama Roux, held a “Clone Funeral”. An anatomically correct (and erect) clone was created and placed on a funeral cart, and a short march to a party site was planned.
- At the last minute, the individual most responsible for the entire problem got word of the plans, and called the police on the unauthorized march. Informed by New Orleans’ finest that they could not march in the street, since that would block traffic, the Underwearians and their fellow mourners marched on the sidewalk, while eleven police cars rolled along next to them, blocking the street far more effectively than the marchers ever could have.
- That same year, two other Clones sub-krewes, the Seeds of Decline and the Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., held their own informal march on Mardi Gras itself, in the French Quarter. After Carnival was over that year, the two groups got together, established an official parade date (three Saturdays before Mardi Gras, the old Clones date), and received permission to march in the French Quarter. Thus was born the Krewe du Vieux Carre (the old, French name for the Quarter), now shortened to Krewe du Vieux. The first Captain of Krewe du Vieux was Underwear’s own Craig “Spoons” Johnson.
As a founding sub-krewe of Krewe du Vieux, Underwear is a leader in theme and float creativity, satire, obscenity, and general crazed celebration. Instantly recognizable by the long, red union suits that are the basis of Underwear apparel (not to mention the only underwear ever worn by most krewe members), the Krewe of Underwear takes on political follies, social norms and a large amount of alcohol every year in the best parade in New Orleans, the Krewe du Vieux.