I know I’ve said this about plenty of other parades, but Krewe of Jingle is one of my favorites. It’s got marching bands and majorettes, dance troupes, stilt-walkers, the 1896 steam engine fire truck, festive floats, Santa and local favorite – Mr. Bingle. (For the history of Mr. Bingle, click HERE). Organized by the Downtown Development District, the Canal Street Home for the Holidays Krewe of Jingle Parade attracts plenty of children and those who are still children at heart. Maybe that’s why it’s one of my favorites.
Another reason I love the Jingle parade is because the Pussyfooters go all out, swelling closer to their 100+ available dancers, dressing in creative holiday-themed versions of their normal pink-pride and reminding me that Mardi Gras is just around a wintery corner. As a “Newbie” member of the Pussyfooters I realize I may sound biased, but readers of this blog know my love affair with this women’s organization started years ago. It was Mardi Gras 2010 when I first saw the over-30 army-of-pinkness sashaying down St. Charles. Like so many parade-goers, I delighted in seeing these corseted women shaking their stuff dressed in head-to-toe pink-and-orange like burlesque-inspired pretty princesses.
This year, I got to don my own Christmasy Pussyfooter pink costume and strut with this amazing group. I’ve met doctors, executives, business owners, mothers and other pillars of the community amongst this fun-loving bouquet of women. I once again had to borrow a corset and it is clear to me that borrowing clothes creates sisterhood. During the more adult-themed Krewe of Boo parade, I did get to Pussyfoot on Canal St., but I’d never marched on St. Charles so I was thrilled to cross it off my bucket list. Part of being in a parade is arriving early, preparing and waiting. It was 45 degrees with a constant cold mist so many of us made a part-time job out of staying warm.
Once the floats started rolling and the bands, dancers, horses, etc. fell into place, we all warmed up pretty quickly. I think the best part is the crowd reactions. Sometimes I would smile or wave at someone and they would smile or wave back and I would remember how that felt when I was the smiling woman on the curb. Some people get excited the second they see us coming, others seem to get more excited as they realize how diverse we are in age and shape.
Once again, Krewe of Jingle reminds me that Mardi Gras is just around the corner but this time, if all goes well, I’ll be parading down St. Charles. As thrilled as I am, I’m not the most-enthusiastic Newbie. Julie and I became Pussyfooters at the same time and from day one, she became known for spontaneously exclaiming, “OhmyGod, I’m a Pussyfooter!” One of my favorite things about working with Quentin Tarantino is his unbridled enthusiasm. When the cast and crew were flagging, Quentin would announce, “OK folks, we’re going to go again. Why?” And we’d all yell, “Because we love making movies!” It was like a horn leading us into battle or an inspiring halftime pep talk.
Just before the parade began Julie did it once again, “OhmyGod, I’m a Pussyfooter!” And her love for this organization filled me like Quentin’s love for movies. I realized that, like movies, the Pussyfooters has introduced me to people I wouldn’t have met, experiences I wouldn’t have had and costumes I wouldn’t have worn. It requires discipline, pushing past your physical limits and a willingness to look foolish in public. When a woman asked me how to join the group while I was waiting for take-out after the parade, all I could think was, “OhmyGod, I’m a Pussyfooter!”
The weekend closed out with the Saints game against the nearly-unbeatable Panthers in the Superdome. The Ying Yang Twins, the duo who brought us Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk), were in attendance so we were treated to the song after every one of the many touchdowns – like it used to be. Drew Brees became the 5th quarterback in the history of the NFL to pass for over 50,000 yards. We won by a mile and it felt great. I wore a brand new pair of sequin pants I would have never bought until someone pointed out, “You live in New Orleans. I can’t believe you don’t already own a pair of sequin pants.” So I wore my sequin pants to a football game. Turns out he was right. At least 40 men and women of all ages and ilks went of their way to tell me they loved my pants. I think only my wedding gown ever got a bigger reaction.
After our victory, we watched this week’s Treme. They ate food to-die-for and listened to music by Johnny Sansone, Anders Osborne, Galactic and the Soul Rebels, to name a few. The episode was often very dark this week, but to quote author Lafcadio Hearn, “I’d rather live in New Orleans in a sack cloth and ashes than own the whole state of Ohio.”
Enjoy the photos of the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi, Urban Cowboy Riding Club, Muff-A-Lottas, Organ Grinders and, of course, Pussyfooters. There are also marching bands from Sophie B. Wright, George Washington Carver, Edgar P. Harney Elementary, Samuel J. Green and Eleanor McMann as well as youth dance troupes from Centre Stage, Mademoiselle Dwyn’s School of Dance, Diamond Beauties Dance and Majorette Team, Glitz & Glam Twirlers, Deja Vu Dance Team, Passion Dance Center, Jeannie Morris School of Dance and something I think said, “L.H.C. Mairyah.”
Many groups and characters appear more than once as the parade moves to Canal St. so be sure to scroll through.