After a weather rescheduling cancelled the bands and dancers from the Krewe of Muses parade, I couldn’t wait to dance with the Pussyfooters in the Krewe of Thoth parade. But Carnival had turned tragic again Saturday night with the second tandem-float-related death. To be honest, it was an odd day. I was grateful to be spending it with my pink-corseted sisters bringing smiles to thick crowds.
Founded in 1947, the Krewe of Thoth has a unique Uptown route designed to pass hospitals and other care facilities people have trouble leaving for a parade. Their 1,200-plus riders are named for the Egyptian God of wisdom and the creator of science, measurement and writing, Thoth was also known as a healer. I was hoping for a little of that for our city.
For me, the best way to see our city is from inside a parade. The Pussyfooters are over 100 women over-30 in pink wigs and corsets dancing in white combat boots. Our non-profit participates in over 50 events a year including our Blush Ball which recently raised nearly $30,000 for New Orleanians affected by domestic violence.
I passed the colorful foil-covered floats of the Krewe of Mid-City on my way to our group. After a teenager backed into me as I was heading to join the lineup, I ended up spending some time getting first aid on a jammed finger and wasn’t able to make it in time. Waiting at the corner for our group to pass before I (and the other stragglers) could hop into formation), I visited with children from the hospital, danced the Cupid Shuffle with the crowd, watched bands and floats round our corner, and cheered on fellow dancers in the NOLA Bombshells and 610 Stompers.
Thoth’s unusual route is also the longest of the season. Since we dance even when the parade stops, I clocked almost 30,000 steps by the end of my long day. But that included watching the Krewe of Bacchus parade. Bacchus was founded in 1949 by Owen Brennan, Sr. 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., invited Danny Kaye to be the first ever celebrity king – breaking 113 years of tradition. Today Bacchus is a super krewe with more than 1,500 members and several of the season’s parades now feature celebrity monarchs.
Due to the second death, tandem floats were banned for the remainder of Carnival. I’m all for safety solutions (slow the parades back to their safer pace!) and welcomed the float attendants. But I admit that watching Bacchagator roll past dissected into pieces was… unsettling. I hope we find better solutions before our next Carnival season.