The Canal Street Home for the Holidays Krewe of Jingle Parade is a perfect way to kick off the holiday season. The 80 degree weather brought out a big crowd for the dance troupes, marching bands, majorettes, stilt-walkers, floats, Santa and local favorite – Mr. Bingle. Organized by the Downtown Development District 11 years ago, the parade is only a part of a weekend of activities and concerts.
I danced along with my Pussyfooters sisters in our pink-corseted costumes ranging from a black and gold Saint-a-Claus to pink poinsettia princesses and honoring Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa. One of my favorite things about being part of the parade is seeing all the festive things the parade-goers wear. My favorite this year was a very Christmasy red t-shirt with white writing that said, “Happy Almost Mardi Gras.” Lots of people wore Saints or Pelicans gear. The many children covered in beads were adorable in little Santa hats and festive clothes.
I’ve been parading with the Pussyfooters since since June 2013. The non-profit dance krewe of over 100 nurses, teachers, executives, business owners, mothers and other female pillars of the community over the age of 30, wear pink and orange wigs and corsets with white combat boots. For Jingle, we get to customize our uniforms in the season’s spirit. This year, I did a gingerbread cookie theme with DIY hand-painted and glittered gingerbread men, women, trees and snowflakes along the white fur of my red velvet skirt. I fashioned matching earrings and a necklace from Sculpey clay and embellished some foam cookies on wires to top my Santa hat. It took three weeks to finish everything.
When I started parading, I’d get overwhelmed with joy. It’s always feels like such a privilege to be able to see the city from inside a parade. And I can’t express how much it means to me to be a proud member of the Pussyfooters, bringing smiles and empowerment as our inclusive, diverse group parades past. We look just like your teachers, wives, coworkers, moms and grandmothers – and fabulously pink, sexy and festive.
Today as the parade peeled off crowded Canal St. and headed onto quaint Baronne, I smiled back at a dad waving his baby’s hand, earphones wrapped around it’s tiny head. I watched a photographer take a picture of her wife, one of our dancers, and smiled seeing that they still flirt after all these years. Then I looked into a group of small children as their faces lit up seeing my fluffy petticoat cookie costume swirling with dance moves. And I was transported to a time when this was still new for me. I became overwhelmed once again with the joy of it all. A city coming together to celebrate the start of a season. Locals and tourists of every walk of life just enjoying each other and our culture. It’s a truly great expression of the spirit of the season.
In keeping with my cookie theme, on our way home we dropped by the Harrah’s gingerbread Superdome and the Sheraton’s gingerbread Jackson Square. Enjoy the photos!