This weekend was the 4th annual Krewe of Jingle Parade on Canal Street. The Downtown Development District created Canal Street: Home for the Holidays to draw shoppers and families looking for holiday activities. They wisely scheduled the parade to finish before the LSU game and many in the crowd were sporting their purple and gold as they waited for the Mr. Bingle float to open the festivities. For those not in the know, Mr.Bingle is a beloved snowman developed by a department store named Maison Blanche founded in 1897. The store used to sit on Canal Street and Mr. Bingle welcomed shoppers from 1948. Though Maison Blanche sold to Dillards, Mr. Bingle remains a part of local celebrations.
The float was followed by the energetic McDonogh #35 and Eleanor McMain Secondary School marching bands as well as the 50’s inspired Muff-A-Lottas dance troupe and Jeannie Morris School of Dance. Mademoiselle Dwyn’s School of Dance supplied what seemed like hundreds of purple clad cuties hoisting batons. There were puffy gingerbread people and Shetland ponies, a steam engine from 1896 and a cart blowing thousands of bubbles.
Mad Men‘s Bryan Batt rode one of the floats as a candy cane dressed stilt walker bent to reach the hands of small children on shoulders. The children watching the parade were my favorite part, their faces filled with the wonder and joy of the season as they danced and caught beads and toys.
The Saints’ mascot, Gumbo, waved from the roof of a decorated van and the Hornets were represented by a compact but talented band and their mascot, Hugo. We were also treated to a fun dance from the dancer-majorettes of Girlz-N-Motion. Cuties from Edgar P. Harney elementary preceded the tough chicks of the Big Easy Rollergirls who showed off, startling everyone with pavement skids.
The Pussyfooters put on quite a show in their pink and white costumes. Their dance troupe continues to grow in numbers and the crowd stepped up the cheers for the women of more advanced years. Centre Stage School of Dance and Majorettes “R” Us filled the street with adorable girls in bright pink before GW Carver High School and Sophie B. Wright Charter School showed the little ones how it’s done. The kids of Sophie B. Wright were especially exciting with their precision percussion and great dance moves.
Local actress, Donna Duplantier, threw beads from a French Market float while wearing a beautiful costume from the 1800’s. Mz. T’z Tween Auxiliary came to a stop in front of us and we decided to walk to the end of the parked parade, passing the hilarious Krewe of the Rolling Elvi, dozens of Elvis impersonators on bikes, scooters and motorcycles, before finding the man of the hour, Santa!
Afterward, the Roosevelt New Orleans sponsored a “Jingle Mingle” block party with fake snow and real trees. There was a petting zoo, face painting, crafting and a princess with candy jewels all over her dress and crown. Miss Tee-Eva was there with a big basket of her famous Tee-Eva’s pralines and a trolley car sold Cajun Dogs and roasted nuts. Because we have way more events than days here, a wedding, complete with the historic Eureka Brass Band, cut through the crowd on their way from their church to the reception.
You don’t have to have children to love watching a kid at Christmas. The Krewe of Jingle Parade had energetic marching bands, fun fantastical characters and dancers ranging from adorable to bawdy, but the children are what made it magical. We adults can get caught up in when the big game is going to start and “beating traffic,” but the kids squealed over simple things like bubbles and Bingle.
Congratulations to the amazing LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints for another week of victories. LSU has secured their place in the BCS Championship game, a rematch of “the game of the century” against Alabama. As for the Saints – Who Dat! Two Dat! Geaux Saints!
Enjoy this video of bands and dances as well as photos of the Krewe of Jingle Parade and the Jingle Mingle.