It’s Carnival time and the parades are in full swing. It was a balmy beautiful day for the Krewes of Pontchartrain and Choctaw so St. Charles was crowded with families, coolers and ladder chairs. Krewe of Pontchartrain (established 1975 and named for Lake Pontchartrain) is a tractor-drawn parade with an open door policy allowing even tourists to ride with them. The Big Easy Rollergirls got things “rolling” along with dance teams including The Dance Connection, Xtreme Voltage Dance Team, Dance Innovation and the Muff-A-Lottas (all pictured below).
The parade featured many school marching bands including Kipp Central Academy, Drexel, Kipp Renaissance, McDonogh City Park Academy, Samuel J. Green Charter School as well as the U.S. Navy Jazz Band playing in a “streetcar.”
Krewe of Choctaw is one of the parades that recently moved from the Westbank. This year, I didn’t see any dance troupes but there were many terrific marching bands including Edna Karr, Belle Chase, Baker High, ReNEW Cultural Arts, Sci Academy, Tara High, L.H. Marrero Middle, Lafayette Academy and McDonogh #32. Both parades were an explosion of vibrant color, dance-inspiring music and adorable kids showing off how hard they practiced their dances and songs.
With 3 more parades rolling Uptown and 2 parades in the Marigny, choices had to be made. We decided to walk downtown as Krewe of Freret started to pass. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of The Bearded Oysters and DancingMan504 with the lovely ladies of The Chorus Girl Project on our way.
We make this 4-ish mile walk at least once every Carnival and it’s one of my favorite experiences. The streets, littered with plastic wrappers from throws, broken beads and other festivity-leftovers, are filled with children playing. The kids jump rope with beads they’ve twisted together, play football and Frisbee, show-and-tell their new toys with other kids, blow bubbles and generally have a marvelous time. Parents, friends and neighbors visit and share food and beverages. It’s like a block party that goes on block after block after block.
Until we spotted it, I’d forgotten we’d we passing the New Orleans Film Fest mural by Brandan “B-mike” Odums featuring my face – which means I’ll be dancing past it again this week in 2 parades. I have to admit I got a kick out of seeing parade-goers chairs sitting in front of it.
We got downtown early enough to make it to ‘tit Rex, the miniature parade, and Chewbacchus, the Star Wars parade. I’m finishing that blog post now!