Krewe of Carrollton is the 4th oldest Carnival parading organization after the Krewes of Rex, Proteus, and Zulu. This is my 8th year dancing with the Pussyfooters, but only my 2nd year parading with the festive men of Carrollton. Thanks to this blog, I always walk around as the floats line up. Bands, walking krewes and dancers wait to join the procession when the parade rolls, and I enjoy the behind-the-scenes glimpses into the different groups and their subcultures.
The riders in the floats above us prep their beads and throws as we visit, practice and hydrate below them in uniformed clumps. But this time I saw something new – team hype songs and chants. First it was the Mount Carmel Carmelettes in their white cheer outfits gathered into a tight circle and dancing into deep knee bends as they hyped themselves with a customized chant. Moments later, I caught everyone’s favorite 610 Stompers doing the same sans deep knee bends. Brett Patron led the group of Ordinary Men with Extraordinary Moves as they sang like pirates in a pub.
The Pussyfooters don’t have a song or chant that bonds us at the beginning of a parade. We dance. Might seem strange to dance before having to dance for 7 miles, but it works for us. We get to freestyle and look at each other’s faces rather than just backs. It feels like a party where we’re all over-30 and agree about what’s fun. And though our non-profit does over 50 parades and events a year, Mardi Gras was why the group was originally conceived and created.
It’s true that after the 20-30,000 steps it takes to complete a route, my feet cramp, my legs spasm and my knees roar. But I LOVE parading with my Pussyfooter sisters, the city beaming back at us, cheering us on as we shake and shimmy. Even the axel-break that stopped everything for far too long was fun as we visited and danced with the people around us. I can’t wait to do Thursday’s Krewe of Muses and Sunday’s Krewe of Thoth parades.
After Carrollton, I caught the end of Krewe of King Arthur, the 2nd largest co-ed Krewe and one of the most diverse – now in its 20th year. St. Charles wasn’t as crowded, the morning rain keeping many from driving into town. That and my uniform led to the most throws I’ve ever caught from 4 floats with no friends or family on them. It’s definitely true that you’ll catch more throws in costume – or your fabulous pink uniform!