Easter weekend brought beautiful weather, Easter parades and crawfish boils. We went to our first family boil Friday night then followed it with another boil Saturday for a family reunion in Baton Rouge. I love being close to family and getting to know people who remember me as a child. After so many years of feeling untethered in L.A., I like seeing my nose on someone else’s face or hearing someone talk about when my parents were kids. Then it was back to New Orleans. Easter Sunday is a big day for parades in the French Quarter and we made it to 2 of the 3 offered.
The Chris Owens Parade wes lining up on Bourbon Street as we started our Easter with an all-you-can-eat brunch at Red Fish Grill. The Bunny and Ike the “Peep” stopped at tables to entertain everyone. Honestly, Ike alone is worth visiting the restaurant for. He embodies the friendly and fun spirit of the city with his irreverent humor and the way he owns that giant yellow Peep costume without losing a bit of his manhood. As I said last time, “ picture a bad-ass version of Sammy Davis, Jr. in a bright yellow chick outfit… You could tell which part of the room he was in by which table was laughing hysterically.”
The buffet features a huge spread of local dishes, scrumptious seafood and delectable desserts. There’s a separate buffet for children along with an egg dying station and, for the adults, there’s a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar with plenty of ingredients and garnishes including bacon.
After our meal, we headed to Decatur for the 31st Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade. Chris Owens has been a renowned burlesque dancer and club owner since the early 1960′s and still performs nightly despite rumors of her being in her late 70’s-early 80’s. Her annual parade is a mix of spring-themed floats, seersucker suits, floral dresses and hats, hats, hats! Jennifer Jones, the Storyville Stompers and the Farhad Grotto Bug Patrol led the way. Sophie B. Wright‘s marching band, the Rolling Elvi and the Sassy Stepperz put smiles on our faces while floats from I’m a Dancer and other groups threw us beads and candy-filled eggs.
We were standing in front of Cafe du Monde and some of their employees ran out to join us on the route. One older woman in her apron and paper hat caught a giant stuffed blue bunny and turned into a squealing child. It was totally adorable. I got a hot pink boa and can’t wait to wear it as a bustle with my Pussyfooter uniform.
After a short rest, it was time for the Gay Easter Parade benefitting the NO/AIDS Task Force’s Food for Friends program. Jennifer Jones again led the way and the Third Line Brass Band and Lords of Leather were among the many entertaining paraders. We spotted Willy Picket, the carriage driver from Django Unchained, as well as a couple of Pussyfooter-pals rolling with the Pair-A-Dice Tumblers Band. We got a bag of beads and toys gifted by an Isabella Rossellini-alike from The Herb (Happy 4-20) as well as Moon Pies and wrapped candies from several paraders.
People take their Easter bonnets very seriously here. I took photos when I could but it’s hard to capture the variety, whimsy, creativity and beauty of the hundreds of hats paraders and parade-goers whipped up.