Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Orleans: Fat Tuesday Parades

On Tuesday we headed down for the main event in the French Quarter. The parade day in uptown is made up of four different parades and we made it through three of them: Zulu, Rex, and one truck parade from the Krewe of the Elks. It's a long day of parades. I didn't snap any shots of the truck parade. I was just too tired.

Jeffrey's extended family still resides in Chalmette and they are friends with a group from the Swiss Confectionery on Saint Charles Avenue. The frontage of the shop and the delivery area are only steps from the parade route. The bakery has been there since 1921. Since then, this group has learned how to do the parade right! One of the greatest parts of being included with them, besides them being incredibly kind and fun and having incredibly kind and fun friends, was they had three empty ladder boxes this year for us to view the parade from. Ladder boxes are genius. We are going to have to get one setup for the Prescott parades!

There couldn't have been a better Mardi Gras experience and I can't believe we got to do this! I really want to extend my heartfelt thank you to Terry, Aunt Melanie, Uncle Russell, cousin Russ, cousin Lindsey, and Lori from the bakery who will never see this. You made our Mardi Gras!

View from inside the bakery delivery area looking out to the parade route. The bearded youth there is Jeffrey's cousin, Russ, the green shirted man next to him is uncle Russell, and the guy leaning on the barricade is really nice, though not named Russell. Rising up above the Russells is the three ladder boxes with the family names on them.

The trees gather a lot of beads from Mardi Gras, which started in January this year.

The beginning of the day's festivities started with the mayor arriving on horseback.

The beginning of the Krewe of Zulu parade.

The Zulu costumes are pretty amazing. The paraders where black face and ornate garb. They also throw prized objects to parade goers. Handpainted coconuts are the top tier item to receive during the Zulu parade. We got one! We were told not to put it in our checked luggage. We ended up shipping our Mardi Gras loot back UPS.

Ada enjoying the parade from her box seat. (That's cousin Lindsey back there on the other ladder). Ada hadn't slept well the night before, so she wasn't super smiley during the parade. The fact that she stayed awake the whole six hours of parading is a testament to how much she enjoyed it.

The Queen Zulu.

She had a sign just in case I missed that she was the queen.

Ada and I enjoyed her leopards. ROAR!

Fleur di Lis clacker!
Ada with her Zulu parasol. I caught it for her -- guy threw it like a spear after making lots of hand gestures that I'd better catch it or someone might die. Everyone was highly impressed by my ability to catch stuff from a ladder.

Jacoby Jones. No really. Jacoby Jones. That's Ed Reed back there with a jersey that says REED.

This is the back of Warren Sapp's head. He never turned for me to get a shot of his face.

Sometimes the floats would get backed up and the marching bands would have to hang out and wait in front of us. They'd all get out of their lines and wander around until the whistle would blow. Then they'd all scramble back to position.

One of the things that helped Ada through the day was Dum Dum lollipops.

Jeffrey's Aunt Melanie: Nicest person in the world, right here.

Shot of the fervor on the far side of the street.
After the Krewes of Zulu parade was the the Krewes of Rex parade. They threw a lot of beads, stuffed animals, and even some doubloons (which I also caught from atop a ladder. I'm telling you! I'm great at catching improbably small or weirdly shaped items while on a ladder!)

The Rex floats were more fanciful in design.

I found their masks more disturbing than the black face of the Zulu.

Huge cow float.

Kow Krewe (not really their name.)

Hockey jersey band of men of a certain age.


This was the ladder family across the way. I enjoyed watching them, particularly the little girl. She was yelling and waving and having the best time. Sometimes I could see her mouth the words, "THROW ME SOMETHIN' MISTER!!!!"

One of the bands that got paused in front of us was a Scottish heritage group. The bakery group ran them out a few trays of jello shots, which they accepted gladly. (Bakery friends also tried to give the Marine Corp Marching Band some, but it was declined.)
Final phone grab for those that have scrolled this far down. This is Ada and Jeffrey in their pre-parade finery, right before we left for the longest day of parading ever.

1 comment:

  1. These are great pictures of Mardi Gras. We have been to so many that we tend to take the festivities for granted. You sure captured the beauty of the day! It was great spending time with ya'll...and getting to know Ada. What a joy she is! Come back any time. Melanie