Thursday, February 07, 2013

Smashing return of Carnival season

Living a block off of the parade route during Carnival can be a blessing but it can also be a curse.  As the season begins to reach its climax and the bigger more popular parades start to come along, parking comes at more of a premium.  For those of us in the neighborhood who rely on on-street parking, there comes a point where we are hesitant to move our vehicles at all except under the most dire of emergencies.  It helps to have a bike available to make the occasional beer and snack run but, come the second week's stretch of parades, you're pretty well hunkered down. 

Which is why walking out to the parade only to find a car you haven't touched in two days has managed to sustain an  injury anyway can be such an annoyance.

Latest car trouble

The good news is I happened to have plenty of duct tape on hand for just such an emergency.  My car, at this point, is about seventy percent duct tape anyway.  Sort of like the Superdome electrical system. In any case I'm not moving it until after Mardi Gras anyway.  So the patch job will have to hold until then. In the meantime, there are parades.

Unlike last weekend, when we were impressed with how strong the crowds were, Wednesday night was pretty subdued. This isn't too surprising given the weather but it is kind of a shame because it means a lot of people missed the best Druids parade I've seen.. probably ever.

The Consultant

Druids is comprised mainly of members of other krewes who treat this parade as kind of a laid back side gig. Often that can result in a forgettable event for spectators.  Sometimes, though, it makes for some clever irreverence.  This was one of those times.

Druids' theme was "Phobias." At first glance this seems similar to Pontchartrain who went with "What are you afraid of?" last weekend.

"What Are You Afraid Of"

But the two krewes approached this differently. Where Pontchartrain just played it straight theming its fill-in-the-blank float titles after typical fears, (Flying, Going to the doctor, etc.)  Druids used it as an opportunity to skewer some of the other parading organizations.

Some examples:

A "Muse-a-phobia" referenced the ongoing feud between Muses and Le Krewe D'etat.  The float featured a stiletto heel jammed into the eye of the D'etat logo.  (I didn't get a photo of this. But check Uptown Messenger who did)

There was a "Whine-a-Phobia" reference to an internal controversy within the Bacchus organization.

A Thanatophobia float featured names of several now-defunct krewes.

This "Westbank-a-phobia" float can be read as a comment on the CCC toll controversy, but I also think it was about the Westbank parades who had to move to the St. Charles route this year.


The most interesting contrast with Pontchartrain's parade involved a re-cycled float from Pontchartrain which Druids had revised slightly to fit its own purposes. Here is the float as it appeared in Pontchartrain.  The idea was that some people are afraid of "Your Mother In Law."

"Your Mother In Law"

Because Druids had squabbled a bit this year with the Krewe of Nyx about the parade order this year, they made one slight alteration to this float.


After Druids.. well, there were many fluids.


Because of the increasingly rainy conditions, I wasn't able to get many photos during Nyx..or really take notice of what was going on with their parade for that matter. I know I caught a pink fortune cookie from Lauren "Fleurty Girl" Thom. Here is a picture of the Pussyfooters approaching along the messy street.


The good news is, if you come prepared with a decent poncho and some rain-proof shoes, you can watch a pretty heavy-throwing parade amongst a light crowd of die-hard and make off with an impressive bounty of loot. And even if you've shown up less than optimally equipped, there are always means to improvise something. I suggest keeping duct tape handy.

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