The first Uptown day parade of the season was the tractor-drawn Krewe of Pontchartrain (established 1975), named for our wonderful Lake Pontchartrain. Rather than an exclusive club, the Krewe allows anyone with the cash to roll with them – even if they’re here as a tourist! My imagination is spinning with how many ways that could be fun – roll with your wedding party or with your birthday party or your kid’s birthday party or to celebrate an anniversary or for a family reunion. As Kelly Bundy used to say, “The mind wobbles.”
$660 per rider gets you breakfast on parade day, a costume, throws and an after party at the French Quarter Tipitina’s. You pay no dues and can attend the ball or join in on other ticketed events “a la carte.” It’s the perfect Krewe for the commitment-phobic.
The theme this year was “Can you name that ball?” and included fun floats ranging from meatballs to Lucille Ball. There were bikers and cowboys, dancers and bands, even Marines and roller girls.
Like the kid scouting for the ice cream man, I finally had a siting of the Tiffany blue Cupcake & Co. truck rolling the opposite way down St. Charles. So close, and yet so far. New Orleans latest sweet treat, the cupcakes from Cupcake & Co. are made with local or socially conscious ingredients. In a “Have it your way” potential stroke of genius, you get to select a flavor for your cake and one of their Italian meringue buttercream icings to top it. You can even choose sprinkles and fillings. The truck parks throughout town and Twitters their location to fans so you never know when you’ll be tempted.
Back to the meat and potatoes, the dancers and bands. Some of these teams are so busy during Carnival season that when they reach the end of a parade, they have to be bussed back to start over again. For some high schoolers, that means over 10 miles a day of waving a flag or carrying a tuba or skipping and shimmying. I can only hope they enjoy doing it as much as we enjoy watching them.
This year’s high school band, dance squads and cheerleaders included teams from the Holy Cross Tigers (established in 1849!), Xavier University Preparatory School, St. Mary’s Academy, the Ursuline Academy Lionettes Dance Team (the oldest continuously-operating school for women in the U. S.), Miller-McCoy Academy for Mathematics and Business and Loranger High School.
The dance schools and groups included The Dance Connection (established in 1979), the Gold Dusters and Pure Envy.
The U.S. Marine Corps Band added a touch of national pride and the riders from New Orleans Cajun Cowboys brought some local pride. The Big Easy Rollergirls had the near impossible task of navigating pothole-ridden St. Charles on roller skates in short skirts or even shorter shorts but that didn’t stop them from putting on a show. An exhausted and over-heated man, however, did. Like most crisis that bring our parades to a halt, help arrived immediately and the beads began flying from floats again in no time.
Good thing, since there was just about enough time to run home for a short nap before the Saturday parades would begin again…