I love attending parades and the Krewe of Muses all-female Super Krewe of 1000 riders is a crowd favorite. When you participate in a parade, the one downside is that you don’t actually get to attend the parade. With the addition of the new train of duck floats being pulled by the traditional giant bubble bath and the opportunity to catch one of their coveted hand-decorated shoes, it was a lot to give up. That said, I love dancing with the Pussyfooters in Muses. A group of over 120 women-over-30, the Pussyfooters raise tens of thousands annually for domestic violence victims, provide entertainment and assistance at non-profit events and, of course, perform in parades year-round. The Pussyfooters debuted in the 2001 Krewe of Muses parade so I consider it an honor to join them rather than hope for a (super-awesome) glittery shoe.
The riders in a parade krewe pay for the entire parade from floats, throws and uniforms to marching bands, performers, police and clean-up. The bands, dancers and performers come up with uniforms/costumes, choreography and more while rehearsing for months. Though I don’t get to see the parade, I enjoy spending hours with the people who make it all happen. And we all have at least one thing in common – we agree on what’s fun. Seeing the city from inside a parade is always fun – but tonight’s crowd was amazing. Good thing because we were all lining up by 5;30 and didn’t roll until at least 8:30. That last hour can really take the wind out of your sails but the crowd just zoomed us through the night.
During those hours leading up to the parade, the floats are already lined up and the various marching groups clump together and figure out where they are in the layout. The women on the floats prepare their throws, taking banded beads from giant bags and filling their area of hooks. Neighbors and parade family members walk the floats and get early throws, especially for their children. People drink and snack, they check each others costumes and wigs, they practice hula-hooping and they visit. There’s lots of music and dancing. It’s like a giant block party with stilt-walkers, Elvis impersonators on motorcycles.
This year’s floats were Dr. Seuss-inspired and clever like “Green Eggs and Hamilton.” It was my second time parading as a whistle-blower who helps keep the dance beats. That meant dancing on the outside line, face-to-face with the crowd. Muses attendees frequently bring inventive, often pun-driven signs – mostly asking for shoes. Many tonight carried messages of female empowerment. Standing in the crowd, I would have seen a few dozen. Parading, I saw hundreds. And decorated shoe boxes on sticks. And people in tutus, wigs and costumes. And adorable children. And people having the time of their lives. I got to exchange literally thousands of smiles. I saw dozens of my friends on the route and got to hug many of them. I inspired people to dance, shout, clap and otherwise play with me. And I did it all with my “pink sisters.”
Photos include Pussyfooters, Krewe de Seuss, Lady Godivas, Krewe of Dead Rock Stars (as George Michael this year), Krewe of the Rolling Elvi, Bearded Oysters, 9the Ward Marching Band, Big Easy Rollergirls, Organ Grinders and flambeau, the men who carry lighted torches.