I think Emily Gras was one of the coolest Mardi Gras events ever! This child was traumatized by stupid drunk parade goers, and after Mom blogs about it, BOOM! A group of Muses members along with some 610 Stompers and other marching groups invited Emily and her mom to the Muses Den for some first class treatment and a ton of great throws.

Fashionable Muses Shoe

Krewe of Muses' Handmade Throw, the Stylish Shoe

A happy ending for this child, but there is a dark side to the Carnival parade world that received a lot of press due to this incident, including a big story on the front page of the Times-Picayune and TV news coverage by the local stations. The Huffington Post spread the story worldwide.

There is a huge amount of underage drinking at the parades. This has to be the biggest underage public drinking party in New Orleans. Kids don’t hold their liquor very well, leading to a lot of boorish parade behavior.

If you are handicapped or elderly, plenty of parade goers can’t wait to step in front of you for a better vantage point. They really don’t mean to block your view of the parade, they don’t think of that. They are just doing their thing at the Mardi Gras. My wife attends parades in her scooter. She’s the invisible woman, that’s our joke about how overzealous parade attendees treat her.

Then there’s the haughty krewe members and their exclusive throwing habits. They throw to the pretty young things on the parade route, and to children. If you are any age other than those two groups, most krewe members wouldn’t throw to you.

Muses members reported to me that as their parade has grown to super krewe status in the last few years, bigger crowds have turned out and bad manners on the parade route have grown exponentially. That makes the ultimate New Orleans experience, joining a krewe, not as much fun as it should be. In a perfect world, krewe members would be egalitarian but that doesn’t mean they will be. Booze may affect their judgement considerably. As the throws have become more exclusive, bad behavior seems to grow. Only the longest beads and the more exclusive throws count.

Reserving spaces on the neutral ground and side walks has developed into a fine art. Dozens of ladders with kiddie seats are set up right next to one another, making an impenetrable barrier. Huge tarps are used to hold big spaces as well. Though this behavior is not allowed by the police, they don’t enforce this at all.

In many respects, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is growing with many positive developments. The democratization of Mardi Gras means more people can get into krewes for less money.The greening of Mardi Gras is happening on many levels, from the green throws of the Giacona Company to the growing bead recycling effort and the ARC Recycling Parade Vehicle. VerdiGras is a Carnival Krewe dedicated a greener cleaner Mardi Gras.

ARC Bead Recycling Parade Vehicl

ARC Bead Recycling Parade Vehicle

I’m very hopeful about the future of Carnival, but troubled by some of recent negative changes.