I got to dance in a parade! Sort of. Because of COVID, the city has had to be clever about how to have a parade experience without creating a super spreader event. New Orleanians have decorated thousands of homes and businesses throughout the city (and the country and even the world!) as “House Floats” to celebrate “Yardi Gras” – a stationary parade. City Park went literal with the concept – lining it’s winding roads with floats from nearly every Krewe that would normally roll so people can drive through the parade – Floats in the Oaks.
The Pussyfooters, a dance krewe of over 100 women over-30, have been invited to join for both weeks of Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Other dancers and bands will be appearing as well throughout the 2-week schedule. Thursday was opening night and I was pretty excited to finally be putting on my pink wig and corset. When I arrived at our spot on the route on the neutral ground, I was a little spooked by the emptiness of the floats. Normally when we dancers arrive at a parade lineup, the floats are full of costumed riders readying their beads and throws for the ride. It was hard to ignore their absence. Maybe that’s why people were so excited to see us dancing in the neutral ground.
It was wonderful making so many people smile, even if many of them were masked. I loved seeing the carloads of children – some popping out of sunroofs or hanging out windows. I realized I hadn’t seen anyone over 80 in ages, so it was nice to see those folks out and about too. Because the ticket price is per car, not per person, there were a few cars jam-packed with fun-loving adults. Some people wore costumes, some decorated their cars. We’re all doing what we can to make the best of a bad situation – yet another reason to love this city and its people.
I’ll be dancing with the Pussyfooters at the Floats in the Oaks again (if all goes well), but I’m also looking forward to attending the event when we drive through next week. It’s opening day and already the tickets are selling out so we grabbed some while there were still choices. We plan to go early so we can spend some time driving the nearby neighborhoods in search of house floats. They’re everywhere but we’ve checked out the Krewe of House Floats map, and that’s definitely a target-rich area.
Yardi Gras and Floats in the Oaks aren’t the marathon of parades and balls we’re accustomed to during Carnival season, but I’m grateful for all the ways this city’s spirit and culture endure.