Friday, February 21, 2014

Carnival pre-gaming

Vodka check

As of Wednesday afternoon, the above were the prices on King Cake Vodka at your local Rouses.  Parade season hits its stride tonight so now would be a good time to stock up if you're into that sort of thing. Not sure what to tell you about the fact that Rouses is offering 750 ml bottles of Taaka King Cake Vodka for two different prices. Pay whichever one you think is most appropriate, I guess.

Taaka or Taaka

If flavored vodkas aren't your thing take comfort in the fact that there are more great locally produced beers available in parade route convenient cans than at any point in my lifetime anyway.

NOLA Brewing has added its Irish Channel Stout to its canned offerings, Tin Roof is selling a nice "coffee porter" specifically branded for parade goers. In recent years, there's been so much Abita Jockamo at my place during parades that I've come to think of it as an essential flavor of carnival.  Despite the wide availability of so much superior product, I'm the most hooked by the fact that Miller Lite is going with the retro labeling.  There's a case of that chilling in the fridge right now.

But there's more to Carnival prep than just stocking up on potables. There's also the question of where one is going to eventually deposit them.  You might be familiar with the popular "Ain't no place to pee" trope. It can become a real issue for residents near the parade route.

Not a toilet

This week, the city has been aggressively combating the problem by positioning port-o-lets like these along the Napoleon Avenue neutral ground and at Lee Circle. 

Place to Pee on Mardi Gras day

But that's never enough.  Some techies claim to offer an entre-pee-neurial solution via the "Airpnp App." Not sure when that launches, though.

If you do find yourself waiting in line to pee, you'll need something to pass the time.  Sure you can dick around on Twitter but don't forget that Carnival is for people watching.  And to do that properly you'll need a bingo card like the one Gambit has provided here. I'm gonna go ahead and check off the bottom-left corner since that's basically me every year.

J.P. Villere has been writing a version of this rundown of proper Carnival etiquette for a few years now. This one is particularly good.  
(20) Surprise yourself.  Expect anything might happen during a parade; see (17).  Stash a Band aid or three in your wallet or purse just because.  Bring earplugs for you and yours; between sirens and all the bands you may actually want them.  Wear sunscreen; see (13).  Drink less; see (18).  Say please and thank you more.  In other words, in surprising yourself, let Carnival reveal the best of yourself whether marching, masking, or spectating

There's plenty of practical advice in there too.  To that, I would add one thing.  It's a good idea to make sure your bicycle is in working order.  But even on the bike, you'll have trouble navigating a crowd and getting across parade routes.  For the most part, you should be ready to walk.

The weather is looking especially iffy this year so make sure you have a poncho or a raincoat available.  I always go pick up a new pair of waterproof hiking boots just before the first parade.  Makes a big difference.

New boots

There's usually just enough tread in them to get me through Jazzfest.  But after that they go in the trash.

I've already got a few miles on them this year thanks to the mess downtown during last Saturday's convergence of Krewe Du Vieux with hosting activities for the NBA All Star Game. We were actually pretty lucky to have parked as near to the quarter as Camp and Julia. We walked alongside a stationary line of frustrated motorists bottled up by the closure of Canal Street to vehicular traffic.  Here are some confused drivers being rerouted onto Common Street.

NBA traffic bottleneck

The upper Quarter was pedestrian only as well which is something that usually happens during the second weekend of parades and sometimes during other special events but not during KDV weekend.  If you can get there, it makes for a nice atmosphere.  This is crap photo of the open Chartres Street but it's the only one I have.

Chatres Street

There are people who argue that the Quarter should be pedestrian-only on a permanent basis.  But something about that makes me uncomfortable.  It's fun during Carnival or during other events to shut things down and contribute to the feeling of pause these celebrations lend to ordinary life.  But on most days, the French Quarter is still a living breathing part of the city.

The French Quarter is a Neighborhood

Shutting it down to all but foot traffic all the time feels a little too much like... well,

Your Guide To Dizneylandrieu

We were lucky enough to snag a Guide To Dizneylandrieu from a Krewe of SPANK marcher.  SPANK's theme was the evening's clear winner. Uptownmessenger got a hold of a hi-res scan of the guide and published it along with an Owen Courreges column which does a good job of getting at the reason this theme resonated.
There’s a good deal to work with here. Mayor Landrieu’s Disneyfied policies include his proposal for “closing hours” for Jackson Square, signing a law banning certain speech on Bourbon Street, his support (later retracted) for the recently-proposed noise ordinance, his well-publicized enforcement crackdowns on alcoholic beverage outlets and live music venues – the list goes on.

Although obviously to a lesser degree, one could argue that Landrieu is attempting to pull off something akin to Mayor Giuliani’s tenure in New York.
Dizneylandrieu wasn't the only act of cleverness pulled off at KDV, of course.  Other highlights included Krewe of CRAPS' "Gov at Twerk" theme depicting Bobby Jindal as Miley Cyrus.  The float featured a picture of the governor riding a wrecking ball as it battered the state of Louisiana.

The Guv @ Twerk

Also CRAPS marchers are pretty good at distributing liquor beads, if you know how to ask nicely.

Liquor Beads

Here's the Krewe of CRUDE's noise ordinance SWAT team.

Noise Ordinance SWAT team

And this is about 30 seconds of a brass band playing "Cissy Strut" just as the Krewe of Comatose's despoiled wetlands themed "Zombie Fish" float arrives.

For more video, be sure to check out Humid City where Loki has posted the product of his having served as a KDV parade escort while wearing his ridiculous Google robot goggles and bothering people the way he does.  It's pretty good.

Tonight's parades are Oshun followed by Cleopatra... much of which I am probably going to miss because six months ago I bought tickets to see Neutral Milk Hotel without event thinking about the parade schedule.  I'm sure it will be worth it.  It's just that the traffic might make getting there kind of an adventure.  Might try just walking with the parade.


Brah said...

"Cissy Strut" ; Parade Ground Porter is an ode to a stretch of land on LSU's campus.

"The More You Knoooooow"

jeffrey said...

Fixed! Thanks, I'm having a bad time with typological errors today. As for the Tin Roof, yes, but they are taking full advantage of the marketing opportunity. Or, at least area grocers are.

jeffrey said...

Fuck! Typographical! That's a completely different word! See?

Loki said...

Good roundup, and even left handed compliments for me. I'm flattered.

See you on the streets