Saturday, there were two daytime parades in my neighborhood, Iris and Tucks. The vibe was very local, very neighborhood and very family oriented. People come early and set up their ladders to prop children, some set up food tables and many brought bags to collect toys and excess beads.
The Krewe of Iris started parading in 1959 which makes it the oldest female Krewe in New Orleans. It’s also the largest. They wear traditional full masks and white gloves. The Krewe of Tucks was established in 1969 and is known for its potty humor with throws including toilet paper and toilet-shaped beads.
Later, I walked to Canal Blvd. in the French Quarter and waited for hours in the freezing cold for the Endymion parade. The Krewe is the biggest in the history of Mardi Gras. Their motto is, “Throw ’til it hurts,” but it’s often the crowd that gets injured. They throw an abundance of stuff with the velocity of quarterbacks and many people have broken teeth or needed medical attention as a result of the Krewe’s enthusiasm and generosity. Saints owner, Tom Benson, was grand marshal and he had the Lombardi front and center with him.
I caught so many beads that they were stacked to my ears. I stood for so many hours with that weight on me in the freezing temps that walking home felt like hiking with a 40 pound pack on. (Note to novices, when it’s super cold, your fingertips hurt even more when you go for the big beads).
I ended up stopping halfway to eat before realizing that I wouldn’t be able to remove the beads which meant I couldn’t remove my coat or scarf either. Sometimes, I would lean my head back and rest it on the stack of treasures. Leaving the tavern, I saw that many of the diners were prisoners of their beads, bundled in coats they couldn’t remove. No matter, it was all worth it to be at one of the largest parades in the world with people from all over and catch an embarrassment of bead riches.