The Krewe of Muses, an all-female krewe, began parading in 2000. Like the 9 streets between Felicity and Howard Ave., the krewe is named for the 9 daughters of the Greek God, Zeus. Their over 1100 members are the only female krewe that parades at night and the women of the city get into the spirit donning wigs and tutus to join in the feminine festivity.
This year’s theme, “Dancing with the Muses,” gave birth to satirical versions of popular dances, such as The Robot with its mockery of Governor Bobby Jindal, The Jerk with images of Jesse James, Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen and Crisco Duck with an oil covered disco ball.
But, anyone who’s seen it knows that the Muses parade always focuses around women’s deep and abiding love for shoes. Inspired by the Zulu coconuts, the Muses’ most coveted throws are their hand decorated shoes. Glittered, feathered and beaded, the shoes are such prizes that women bring decorated shoe boxes hoping to fill them.
Muses is a huge parade with 25 floats designed by Blaine Kern and 25 bands marching between as well as tons of flambeaux. Signature floats (and crowd favorites) include a gargantuan lighted stiletto and a bubbly bathtub. Throws were plentiful and fanciful and I was lucky enough to catch a few of the bracelets adorned with black and silver stilettos as well as a medallion.
With the locals out in force, there were lots of people yelling to friends marching. I even shouted out to a passing friend marching with sophomore 610 Stompers. Their motto, “Ordinary men. Extraordinary moves,” doesn’t begin to capture the fun these men bring to moments like last year’s Buddy D. and Saints Victory parades so I suggest you check out some video. Another fun group of men parading through were the Rolling Elvi, Elvis impersonators on motorized scooters led by a porta-potty (their throne). Locals reported that the Elvi started with about 5 guys in 2003, which was hard to believe as what seemed liked hundreds of Elvi paraded past. The 610 Stompers seem to have doubled in number from last year so if the Elvi are any indication, they’ll be spanning blocks soon.
Not to be outdone, the female stepping groups were very well represented by crowd favorites The Pussyfooters, the Camel Toe Lady Steppers and the Bearded Oysters as well as the Big Easy Rollergirls and the Lady Godivas Riding Group, women in nude suits on horseback. My favorites, the nearly 80 pink-clad Pussyfooters proclaim themselves, “Majorettes from the Mothership sent here to help the party people get their groove on” and are family-friendly females strutting silly, sexy moves. Not so silly but very sexy was the light-box with a woman dancing inside. I was able to capture only a second of it on video but the memory will linger for the cheering men in the crowd.
There were stilt-walkers and unicyclers navigating the bead-littered street with the same grace the Big Easy Roller Girls displayed and creating a circus-like feeling and the floats just kept coming, but I think the many marching bands and accompanying dancers were my favorite part. There was St. Augustine, certainly one of the best and largest marching bands in the city and a source of pride for us all, and the yellow-clad cuties of Xavier Prep. O. Perry Walker swaggered down St. Charles followed by Warren Easton, Carver, Clark, John McDonogh, McDonogh #35, St. Mary’s, Sarah T. Reed, Karn, Eleanor McMain, Walter L. Cohen, East St. John, Martin Luther King Jr., Sophie B. Wright and more. I wish my cameras did better at capturing their energy but digital hates dark.
Thanks again to Mardi Gras Parade Tracker for getting me there right on time. As everyone else tried to make decisions based on 10 minute old twitters with vague locations, I always knew exactly where the front of every parade was on this 3 parade night.
Enjoy the Girl Power!