Thursday, February 07, 2013

Mardi Gras Madness - Part 3 - First Weekend of Parades with the Pussyfooters

Here comes the girls!
Technically, Mardi Gras is the last day of Carnival but we use the terms interchangeably. Carnival starts on 12th Night, January 5. The Phoney Phorty Phellows take a streetcar ride, throwing beads and what not to those that come out to see them. I was meeting a friend on the Avenue and was running late, so I missed the first pass and almost missed the second pass. There are parties this night as well as the Krewe of Joan of Arc that marches through the Quarter.

Me, mid-step-turn.
In New Orleans, the majority of parades start 2 weeks prior to Mardi Gras day. I'm in the Pussyfooters, a woman's dance group, and we were invited to perform in two parade the first weekend, Krewe of Cleopatra and Krewe of King Arthur. Both parades are about 5 miles long and took about 3 hours to complete. That's a lot of dancing and marching! But it is so much fun, and it's always a thrill to spy someone you know along the route. What was fun about these two parade is the first one was at night, the second the day, each a different experience. The night parades are more of a blur because you can't see, but even in the daylight, you aren't always sure where you are. The crowds blank out the landmarks and cross streets. It's fun to be able to see the people in the crowd and interact with them.

Here's a bunch of photos on Flickr from the King Arthur parade. We glow in the daylight!
Here's a video of us performing one of our dances in the same parade.
Here's a video of us from the Krewe of Cleopatra parade.

It's such an overload of senses. We have our own music - this year with a live DJ! - then there's the yelling and crowds noises, music from other groups and marching bands. We use hand motions and whistles (you'll hear them in the videos) to alert everyone about an upcoming dance. Sometimes you miss both until you realize everyone around you is dancing so you just jump right in. Like I said earlier, visually it can be a complete blur, but then you spy someone in the crowd you know and they just pop out at you. That's usually when I mess up. LOL And then there's the smells. There are horses and mules in the parade -ugh- but you also catch whiffs of fried chicken, BBQ and boiling crawfish along the route as well. Yum!

St. Charles Avenue in the Lower Garden District.

In front of Gallier Hall downtown. I'm the one in the pink wig. ;-)

Canal Street.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Mardi Gras Madness - Part 2 - Stomper's Ball

I'm a child of the 80s so I love dressing up and dancing to 80s tunes at the 610 Stomper's Ball. This year's theme was "Headbanger's Ball" but I had already got pieces for my Madonna wannabe costume before the theme was announced. Even though the ball was the night before the Krewe du Vieux parade I just couldn't miss it. Before the ball, I got together with some of my girlfriends for last minute primping. That really took me back to high school and college days.

Band reunion! LOL

I love the varieties of 80s wear.

I look like the love child of Madonna and Robert Smith.

Our friend M as Paul Stanley.
She was crowned Queen of the costume contest.
The King was a Freddy Mercury look-alike. LOL

The 610 Stomper's performing their new dance.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Mardi Gras Madness - Part 1 - Krewe du Vieux

For the past few years G and I have been in a subkrewe of Krewe du Vieux (KdV), the Krewe of PAN. Our original subkrewe was suspended (looong story) but we reformed with some of the other members and got conditionally accepted into KdV as Krewe of SPANK. (See what we did there?) KdV doesn't normally accept new subkrewes but we were an exception. G was elected co-captain of SPANK and I secretary. Since being accepted in September, we've been super busy getting by-laws written (ugh) getting incorporated, filling up membership, collecting dues. The unique thing about KdV is each subkrewe comes up with their own theme, decorates their own float, comes up with and/or makes their own throws and costumes. However our float was stolen out of the den (another long story, we have an idea who took it) so we had to improvise. Luckily one of our members had a mule drawn carriage lying around (only in New Orleans, right?) so we used that. All the floats are pulled by mules or people.

The weather was fantastic that evening (never a given) so the crowds were huge but pretty well behaved (also, not a given). We had a blast marching through the Marigny and Quarter accompanied by the Lagniappe Brass band, winging penalty flags at the crowds and handing out other throws. Doug McCash, art critic for the T-P said our penalty flag throws were the best of the parade. Woot!

Here's a few pics, more can be seen here.

Moi with a "Vilma for Mayor" sign.
©Ride Hamilton

Our "float" ©Ride Hamilton

G marching. ©Ride Hamilton