Friday, January 30, 2015

Carnival links: Re-routed parades, recycled throws, and ridiculous king cakes

Enjoy yourself

Parade season is upon us.  I don't know why, but for some reason I'm convinced that this is going to be an especially good one. Here's what's going on this week.

  • KDV changed their route.

    Le Monde de Merde 2015

    Then they changed it again! Appropriate anyway, given this year's theme. The route published in the newsletter (above) is different from the one they're actually going to take (see the Gambit article in the link.)
    Krewe du Vieux “Begs for Change” when it rolls at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the Faubourg Marigny, French Quarter and CBD. The satirical and risque krewe typically picks themes with a double meaning, but this one is more socially conscious than usual.

    “The double meaning is the proliferation of the people on the street corners holding up signs all over the place but the other side of it is hoping for social and political change,” Krewe du Vieux Captain Joe Thompson said.

    Among the 17 subkrewe variations on the theme, The Krewe of Underwear “Bulldozes for Change,” taking on the issue of hipster gentrification. The Krewe of T.O.K.I.N. “Burns (One) for Change,” arguing that Louisiana should “put the bud in the budget” and legalize cannabis.

    The krewe is following a new parade route. For the first time in nearly 20 years, the parade will cross Canal Street, enter the Warehouse District and end at the Civic Theatre
    Just don't tell our city councilpersons about all the aggressive panhandling.

  • One day prior to KDV, a much worse event will take place.

  • There's no word on whether any cat fights factored into the decision-making process — or whether any scratch marks were left — but the royalty has been settled for the all-feline Krewe of Endymeow for its 13th annual Bal Masque on Friday, Jan. 30, at The Cat Practice Veterinary Hospital in the Lower Garden District, according to a press release.
    Carnival for cats. It's really better in concept than in practice... and it's a pretty terrible concept at that.  On the other hand, if your cat likes to party...

    Miller Time

  • And, of course, if you're looking for an even worse krewe to hang around with, there's always the Rex organization. This year's Rex parade is all about how great war is.. or something like that anyway.

  • The 2015 Rex procession, which rolls on Mardi Gras (Feb. 17), will include 27 floats on the theme of "Wars that Shaped Early America." The current Rex bulletin, reproduced here, shows artist's renderings of the floats.

    Full-size Rex bulletins, which measure 19 inches by 25 inches, are sold through the Rex organization website. Bulletins from past years cost $30.

    I don't want to shell out $30 just for a preview of a parade.  I'm guessing there's one about the "War of Northern Aggression" in there somewhere.  Rex also made this announcement last week.
    NEW ORLEANS - The King of Carnival will ride the rails, and not the river, when he makes his Lundi Gras arrival by train this year instead of by water, the Rex Organization announced Tuesday.
    Since 1987 (though the practice harkens back to the 19th century), Rex has arrived at the Mississippi Riverfront at Spanish Plaza, via Coast Guard cutter, at 6 p.m. on Lundi Gras.

    This year, on Lundi Gras, the King will arrive by train – reviving a tradition that Rex archivist Dr. Stephen Hales says dates back to the mid-1880s.

    "He's going to revisit an old tradition, long since forgotten," Hales said. "He'll arrive by train, a specially decorated train car pushed by the N.O. Public Belt Railroad will arrive at Riverwalk. The King of Carnival and his entourage will emerge, greet the crowds, greet the mayor, proclaim Carnival and receive the keys to the city."
    Trying to get as much use out of that N.O. Public Belt as possible before Mitch sells it off to John Georges's father-in-law, I guess.

  • Here's a list of the top 10 revenue generators among Carnival krewes. City Biz loves to kiss the asses of these clubs. Which is why you end up with bullshit like this. 
    An analysis on the most recent tax documents available provides a glimpse at the prolific spending of Carnival krewes. What it doesn’t show is the revenue they direct to charitable causes.

    The Rex organization, for example, provided more than $860,000 in grants to charter schools and educational groups, through its Pro Bono Publico Foundation.
    Yeah, hey, thank you, Rex, for profoundly fucking up the very concept of public education in New Orleans... for the good of the public, of course.  There's also this factoid.

    Momus doesn't parade anymore because they never got over that War of Northern Aggression that Shaped America.  But it's more or less an open secret that the Knights of Chaos is their parade.  Chaos uses the Momus floats and their membership is basically Momus, from what I understand, anyway. Wonder how the money gets moved between organizations, though. City Business isn't likely to tell us. 

  • Riders, do you have all your beads, yet?   The timing is getting weird.
    NEW ORLEANS - A labor dispute in California is turning into a possible Carnival crisis. Delays at a Los Angeles port has thousands of signature Mardi Gras beads on back order and local businesses are now concerned the throws will not make it in time for Mardi Gras.

    Krewes spend all year making, designing and buying throws for Mardi Gras, but right now much of that is just sitting in containers on the West Coast.

    "It's about 20 percent of what we would normal bring in that is not here now," says Dan Kelly, president of Beads By The Dozen. "Unfortunately, a lot of it is the custom product we need for the krewes."
    On the positive side, recent years have brought a build up of rumblings about the quantity of non-biodegradable plastic beads that get tossed around every year.  Maybe this is an excuse to cut back a bit.

    Bead tree

    Several krewes, like Chewbaccus here, have begun a deliberate movement toward fewer but more interesting hand-crafted throws made from recycled or recyclable material.  Riders also have come to rely more and more on organizations like Arc of New Orleans, who collect and recycle beads each year, for the bulk of their throws.

    Arc rolls these bins behind many parades.  If you're not taking yours home, consider tossing them back.

    ARC Bead recycling

  • The wacky king cake trend has reached such levels of baroque absurdity that it no longer does any good to question whether or not a thing is real.  If it can be imagined, it exists.  Take, for instance, this week's king cake mini-fad: Boudin.
    "I saw it, and I thought, 'Why not?' It was a spur of the moment thing," said Steve Himelfarb, the owner of Cake Café, and arguably the godfather of modern king cakes in New Orleans. He made a dozen mini king cakes filled with boudin and topped with crunchy bacon.

    At 7:45 a.m., the Cake Café Facebook page posted a photo of one of them, and credited his inspiration, the boudin-filled and cracklin topped king cake conceived by Robert Carriker, who runs BoudinLink.com and kingcaker.com out of Lafayette. The boudin-stuffed king cake he conceived took social media by storm on Tuesday morning.

    BoudinLink.com replied: "That is awesome. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - and we appreciate the recognition!"
    Did you get that?  A guy made a boudin king cake but then had to stop and give credit because, come to find out, someone else had already made a boudin king cake.  And hey, that's not all.  You might think that should be all. But it is not.  
    Himelfarb said they do not bake other savory king cakes, but for their small catering gigs - they have several this weekend for Krewe de Vieux parties -- they make stuffed breads. One is filled with muffuletta ingredients, one with vegetables and one with roasted pork.
    Actually the savory king cake genre has been explored previously.  Here's a meat pie cake that looks pretty good.

    Muffuletta king cakes, though.  Is your mind blown?  Well you are too slow because it turns out this has also been done.

    No satire too outlandish that it can't also be real.  Welcome to Carnival 2015. If you don't like it, you can stay in Mobile.

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