Posts tagged Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Throw innovation is only one of the games of Muses, the largest and baddest of all the woman’s krewes. In their prime in the mid 1980s, Shangri La in Chalmette was a mighty all-female krewe, with over 1,000 members. However, their membership declined since Katrina, and chose not to parade in 2009.
Muses began parading as an all-female krewe in 2001. Staci Rosenberg is founder and captain of Muses. In just eight short years, Muses is at the absolute top of the New Orleans krewes in terms of creativity and numbers of throws. No other krewe comes close to matching the depth and breadth of their throws. They also are one of the largest krewes in terms of membership, with 1,500 members.
Muse’s personalized throws from last year, 2008 (incomplete list): oversized logo powder puff, working lava lamp key chain, Muse comic book ( “SuperMuse”), full size decorated woman’s shoes, shoe medallion bracelets, roller skate medallions, Muses LED-Fan, Muses glitter stick-on fashion accessory, lighted shoe medallions, Muses Night Fever (parade theme), lighted medallion, plastic crystal lighted heart medallion, soft spear, headband, disco ball medallion, song spoofs and lyrics booklet, regular logo beads, and more. Here’s a link to a really cool U-Tube video we shot of a 2009 Muses LED-FAN throw Muses LED-Fan
No other krewe comes close to the number and variety of personalized throws that Muses throws. I’ve seen the short published list of new throws for 2009, and I’m sure it is very incomplete. Muses do not publish their full list before the parade.
Carnival in New Orleans wouldn’t be the same without the annual appearance of the famed Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale Horses. The eight horse hitch pulling the traditional Budweiser beer wagon will appear in seven parades in the New Orleans area: 2/13, Excalibur; 2/14, Ceasar; 2/15, Nemesis; 2/17-19, stable viewing; 2/20, D’Etat; 2/21, Endymion; 2/22, Bacchus; 2/24, Zulu.
The Clydesdale breed is a heavy draught (work) horse breed originating in Scotland and improved through crossbreeding with Flemish stallions. They were introduced into America as a draught horse used to pull a load.
In 1933, August A. Busch, Jr. introduced the first Clydesdale hitch to celebrate the end of Prohibition. Today, three eight-horse hitch teams travel the US, making more than 400 appearances annually.
The Clydesdales travel in style. Each eight-horse hitch is transported via caravan in three fifty by eight-foot custom designed vans with air cushion suspension, thick rubber flooring to ease the rigors of standing. Vent fans and insulation assure fresh air and comfortable temperatures. The caravan stops each 100 miles while traveling and at night to attend to the horses’ comfort.
Weighing in at slightly more than one ton, each gelding eats 25 pounds of pounds of beet pulp, crimped oats, bran, minerals, salt, and molasses daily, plus 55 pounds of hay.
In 1950, the first dalmatian appeared for the Newark Brewery Opening. They have been the official mascot ever since.
Grooming and dressing the Clydesdales is a massive undertaking. It takes an average of 45 minutes to wash a single horse. Braiding ribbons into the mane and tail takes another 20 minutes. Then into the black and brass $35,000 custom-made harness-ware. In all, it takes five hours of strenuous work to ready each animal to meet their public, and they sometimes make two appearances in a day.
In the New Orleans area, the Clydesdales are stabled at the local Budweiser Distributor:
Southern Eagle Sales & Service
5300 Blair Drive
Metairie, LA 70003
They always have a nice display set up and you can come out and pet them and meet the handlers who take care of them and travel with them. When I went to my local Rouses Grocery on Tchoupitoulas Street around noon today (February 17, 2009), there was a Bud Clydesdale horse doing public relations with one of the huge buses they travel around in. I didn’t have my camera with me, and my phone camera sucks.
February 7, 2009- Krewe du Vieux, the only French Quarter-Marigny mule driven Mardi Gras parade, rolled around 7:00 pm. This was my first year associated with KdV. It’s the most ribald parade also, heavy on the political satire. 17 floats with 19 New Orleans Brass Bands.
I do have a history with KdV’s predecessor, the Krewe of Clones. The Contemporary Arts Center started Clones in late 70s. We learned that the person managing the parade took his partying seriously and by the time the last floats joined in the parade, he wasn’t in the best shape to conduct his duties. We would paint our old VW bus into a giraffe or elephant, and drive right into the parade. We did this for several years.
I also had my own float in Tucks for three years during the time that Tucks allowed independent floats for a price. I would rent a stakebed truck and we’d decorate this. Here’s a picture of one of my three floats. I think this is the first one. The fee was around $500.00 each year. 25 of my friends from around the country would come down and ride with my family and neighborhood kids.
My friend Jack got me involved with KdV a couple of weeks ago, when he mentioned that the sub-krewe he marched with, Krewe of Underwear, needed a couple of additional escorts. Escorts are the Krewe’s security force, maintaining order on the parade route. I signed up through the Krewe’s Escort Manager, Jen. It’s a volunteer position with heavy perks. In my estimation, well worth the effort.