This is my 7th full Mardi Gras/Carnival season and the evolution from parade-goer to parader continues. I’ve gone from attending dozens of parades alone to knowing people on the route to knowing people in the parade to riding in the Orpheus Monarch Float and becoming a Pussyfooter dancer in parades. Three years in, I’ve now helped a new batch of “Kittens” learn the dances and tricks for staying warm and comfortable while parading for miles and miles. I’ve gone from having every parade, Krewe, marching band, float, dance troupe and rolling krewe be new to me to knowing bands by their uniforms and floats by their designer and some by name. Even the parade schedule is familiar. Very little is new anymore, now it’s anticipated and beloved.
Parade-goers fall into 2 groups – sidewalk side and neutral ground side (the median). I’m sidewalk side. But neighbors tempted us to cross St. Charles a few times this year. Turns out the lighting is better there for night parades and the backdrop you face is the lovely homes and mansions rather than the streetcar tracks. I wouldn’t say I’m converted, but I’m definitely more flexible now.
The evolution of the Mardi Gras parades continues as well. There were quite a few news stories this season about the many dance troupes and rolling krewes that have joined the parades since the Storm. The Pussyfooters is the oldest of these adult dance troupes at 15 years. Though there are still many parades that don’t include these groups, it’s hard to imagine Carnival season without The Krewe of the Rolling Elvi, the Muff-A-Lottas, the Laissez Boys, the 610 Stompers, and the many, many other creative, silly fun groups.
The throws evolve as well. The elaborately-glittered Muses shoes have inspired throws like the Nyx equally-blingy purses and the decorated toilet brushes of Krewe of Tucks. I’ve still never gotten a Zulu coconut, but I have a shelf full of glittery trophies.
I’ve selected a few photos from each of the parades I attended or danced in, including my first time attending ‘tit Rex, the shoebox parade as well as a King Cake party. Parades include Krewes of Oshun & Cleopatra, Krewes of Pontchartrain & Choctaw, Krewes of ‘tit Rex & Chewbacchus, Krewe of Barkus, Krewes of Druid & Nyx, Krewe of Muses, Krewes of Hermes & d’etat, Krewe of Iris, Krewe of Tucks, Krewe of Endymion, Krewe of Thoth, Krewe of Proteus, Krewe of Orpheus as well as amazing costumes in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day.