Usually, Fat Tuesday – Mardi Gras in French – splits the city into parade-goers and costumers. Parade-goers attend the Krewe of Zulu and Krewe of Rex parades, with diehards staying for the long procession of truck parades – all of which were cancelled for COVID. We’re costumers so though alcohol sales were forbidden in the French Quarter, and our day started at 28 degrees, we masked up and masqued up and ventured out.
Normally packed Frenchman St. was shut down so we crossed into the Marigny in search of other costumed socially-distancing revelers. I wore 3 petticoats topped with a tutu so I had a built in distance-creator – and had trouble passing bushes, trash cans, fences, latches, and anything else my ocean of tulle could catch itself on.
The sun came out after noon and a few more people came outside to wander but it was mostly a quiet day with police often outnumbering partiers. If we danced in an intersection or if more than a dozen people came together anywhere – police would ask us to disperse. The biggest crowd of the day was the unmasked people who carry the signs telling us that God hates us. Not sure why the cops who drove past didn’t have a problem with the dozens of people at that intersection.
Despite the odd quiet of the day and the lack of costumed crowds, we did run into friends and even family. We don’t take any of that for granted anymore. And lots of people enjoyed our costumes. One little girl couldn’t stop jumping and squealing when she saw my husband’s bubble-wrap get-up. I’ve already shared Yardi Gras house floats from the French Quarter, but I caught a few more great ones as well as in the Marigny.
The day ended with a kind man in a truck giving us a coveted Zulu coconut and us catching me on local the local PBS special coverage of the day. They showed footage of me dancing with some of my Pussyfooters sisters at the Floats in the Oaks, the drive-thru parade hosted by City Park, on opening night of that event. It’s been a strange Carnival but I’m grateful we layered up and headed out in search of Mardi Gras. I especially loved seeing the woman dressed as good news, the corona queens, and the people who bundled up their children so they wouldn’t miss the day.
Fat Tuesday ties with the Mardi Gras Indians’ Super Sunday for my favorite day for photos so enjoy the bounty.