I was looking forward to dancing with the Pussyfooters in the Krewe of Thoth parade, but the threat of severe weather led to a slimming of the day’s festivities. The 3 morning parades rolled without marching bands and dance krewes – just floats. It was disappointing to miss out on parading so I was thrilled when we ran into one of my Pussyfooter sisters and did a short dance for the crowd.
It’s always fun to share Carnival with people who’ve never seen it so it was great hosting former federal prosecutor and award-winning author, Allison Leotta and her family. She and I met at a mystery writers convention. Her kids were excited to be given spots on bleachers perfect for catching tons of throws. Like most visitors, they were all surprised to see how family-friendly Mardi Gras is compared with what movies and media had led them to believe.
The temperatures dropped by the time the Krewe of Bacchus started. Owen Brennan, Sr., owner of the Absinthe House on Bourbon Street and Brennan’s Restaurant on Royal, started Bacchus in 1949 (70 years!) to undermine New Orleans high society’s grip on Carnival by opening krewe membership to tourists. The idea failed to catch on until 1968 when Brennen’s son, Owen “Pip” Brennan, Jr., decided to invite Danny Kaye, a Hollywood icon and outsider to New Orleans, to be the first ever celebrity king (breaking 113 years of tradition) and roll with the 250 members.
The idea obviously took because today Bacchus is a super krewe boasting more than 1,500 members and several parades feature celebrity monarchs. This year’s King was Jensen Ackles, star of Supernatural. The theme was “Starring Louisiana” and featured floats of movies from 1918’s Tarzan of the Apes to 2 projects I was in – Green Lantern and HBO’s Treme.