Saturday, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for parades. Sunny and mid-70’s. Though the day promised to be amazing, the crowds were manageable since the NBA All Stars events have filled our hotels and party venues with people who aren’t here for Carnival. (We wore our Pelicans gear in solidarity – I went with the Kind Cake Baby). Krewe of Pontchartrain kicked us off for the first of five parades. The purple-and-white-clad women of Dance Connection led the Cajun Indians & Cowboys Riding Club and royalty floats. The roller-skating Big Easy RollerGirls and dancers from Dance Innovation and the Muff-A-Lottas got the crowd cheering. The many school marching bands included Saint Katharine Drexel Prep, Xavier University, Kipp Central City Academy, Pierre A. Capdau Charter School, Dolores T. Aaron Academy and Joseph S. Clark Prep. (PHOTOS) Continue reading
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Krewe of Cleopatra rolled tonight (after Krewe of Oshun) setting off the first big weekend of Carnival parades. This was my first time dancing with the Pussyfooters in this parade. As usual, I will be dancing in Muses and Thoth but I was excited to join the all-female parading Krewe of Cleopatra. This was also my first time as a “whistle blower” which meant that I had to pay far more attention than usual so I could signal the start of each dance repetition. It also meant it was my first time dancing on the outside line which put me face to face with the crowd. With the rain starting at exactly the same moment we rolled, crowds were light, which made it an easier transition. It was also my first time parading in the rain. Continue reading →
Every year, just as the rest of the nation is winding down after the 1-2-3 punch of Thanksgiving-Christmas/Hanukkah-New Year’s, we in New Orleans are just getting started. The festivities begin on Twelfth Night with the Phunny Phorty Phellows riding the streetcar down St. Charles, heralding the start of Carnival season. The night is also Joan of Arc’s birthday which is celebrated with a parade through the French Quarter. Though not everyone attends events that day, most offices (and many homes) commemorate the season with King Cake. In the last few years, King Cake has become the focus of parties with people bringing cakes from their favorite bakeries and sampling them all.
In our home, Twelfth Night’s passing means turning the Saints’ Who Dat wreath into a Mardi Gras wreath and switching the tree decorations from Christmas to Carnival. Continue reading →
This is my 7th full Mardi Gras/Carnival season and the evolution from parade-goer to parader continues. I’ve gone from attending dozens of parades alone to knowing people on the route to knowing people in the parade to riding in the Orpheus Monarch Float and becoming a Pussyfooter dancer in parades. Three years in, I’ve now helped a new batch of “Kittens” learn the dances and tricks for staying warm and comfortable while parading for miles and miles. I’ve gone from having every parade, Krewe, marching band, float, dance troupe and rolling krewe be new to me to knowing bands by their uniforms and floats by their designer and some by name. Even the parade schedule is familiar. Very little is new anymore, now it’s anticipated and beloved. Continue reading →
The Krewe of Orpheus parade is one of my favorites. The first all-inclusive Krewe (male, female, all races, etc.), Orpheus celebrates performing artists with glorious Kern Studios floral floats dripping with giant pearls. A Super Krewe of 1,300 riders, everything about the parade is grand. The parade opened with the Marines playing a sexy, bluesy version of House of the Rising Sun as waves of gas-lamp twirling flambeaux lit the way for giant school bands. The Simpson’s, Harry Shearer and Mayor Mitch Landrieu rode the first float followed by Castle‘s Nathan Fillion on the Monarch Float we rode in with Quentin Tarantino in 2014. Local-born parade co-founder Harry Connick Jr. waved from the next float. Continue reading →
Krewe of Proteus was the first parade to roll on Lundi Gras, the Monday before Fat Tuesday. Established in 1882, Proteus is the second oldest parade of the Carnival season (Rex is oldest) and is the oldest night parade. The “Hindu Heavens” theme played out beautifully on exotic floats by The Royal Artists sitting atop the original 1880’s wooden chassis. Named for the shepherd of the oceans as well as the son of Poseidon, the parade’s King remains a secret to all but the 230 male riders.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, by now you know that I proudly dance with the Pussyfooters in parades throughout the year. Krewe of Thoth may be the longest route, but between the usually fabulous weather and the many delightful children that attend, it’s one of my favorite to parade in. I gave some behind-the-scenes information in my post on Pussyfooting in Krewe of Muses but here’s some answers to some frequently asked questions about parading. Continue reading →