This year Mardi Gras Day was one of the most interesting challenging Carnival days I have ever been to and that’s quite a few since 1975. The temperature in New Orleans barely got above 40 degrees with a light rain falling for the entire time we were on the streets and like I told my mama, at least the wind wasn’t blowing. I got the pleasure of escorting my friend Melanie who made her third trip to Mardi Gras Day with me(see previous Mardi Gras Day posts). This year she brought a friend of hers along so I got to escort two women. Debbie had never been to Mardi Gras Day before, her first parade being Bacchus on Sunday evening. They drove straight from Houston to New Orleans for that. The weekend for our Krewe Of Southdowns parade on Friday night and the Saturday Spanish Town Mardi Gras parades was excellent weatherwise. It actually got hot on Saturday for Spanish Town. But this being South Louisiana, the weather changed quickly for the worse on Monday night, something crazy like a 40 degree temperature drop overnight. Monday was spent getting rain gear together as the ladies wanted to make the trip, no matter the weather. So it was out the house real early, like 6am early and off to Madisonville to pick up the ladies. Raingear was our costumes this year though I did wear the tacky parade jacket and one of the way cool tunics underneath as well as another couple of layers of clothes. Off across Lake Ponchartrain and straight in to the belly of the beast. Park the car at the usual spot, hit the bathrooms and head onto the street with a light rain starting. Pass under the bridge and turn on to St. Charles Avenue where I saw something I’ve never seen before, absolutely no one in the going uptown lanes of St. Charles for a couple of blocks. We were literally the only people on the street. There were a few folks on the neutral ground set up under tents and tarps waiting on Zulu which we walked up on a couple blocks into the uptown walk. Saw the Zulu King and Queen on St. Charles Avenue then it was on to Jackson Avenue where I usually watch Zulu. The word I got was a friend of mine was riding on the Zulu Ambassador float. Never did see Corey though, he must have been on the other side. Needless to say, the riders were throwing heavily to the few folks lined up, the crowd being one deep and we were the ones, yelling and screaming as each float passed. The bags filled up quickly as the parade passed by at a quite rapid clip, maybe one stop for a couple of minutes rather than the usual hang out in the streets and wait for the parade to start again. Both Melanie and Debbie were deep into it, groveling for all they were worth, as well as myself too. This is nuts, almost like they were parading just for us.
We got a whole lotta “gold for a day” including something like a dozen coconuts between the three of us as well as a few other things one usually doesn’t get. One of the throws I always try to get is a cup or few. Every home in South Louisiana has fine plastic Mardi Gras cups in the kitchen cabinet, it’s required. So I present to you this years Zulu cup, From Zulu With Love………..
The Province Prince and the Mayor
The Ambassador and the Big Shot
Mr. Big Stuff and The Governor
All the Zulu Characters are represented on the cup. These positions are campaigned for and the members vote on who will be each character. The Zulu King is also a voted/elected position, very democratic. This year I got a coconut from the Witch Doctor float to go along with a previously gotten coconut from Mr. Big Stuff. Here’s this years Witchdoctor coconut I got handed. All coconuts are handed from the floats, not thrown.
Since it was raining, I didn’t think the Indians would come out and it turns out they didn’t until much later where we were. It was pretty much straight back to St. Charles Avenue to see Rex, King Of Carnival…..who was nowhere to be seen when we got to St. Charles. We stood under an awning of a condo talking to the residents also waiting for the parade. Then there was Rex headed to the stop at 2525 St. Charles(see last years post). We followed and got to see Rex disembark the float. I told the ladies it was most likely for the Royal Urination. They gave me you gotta be crazy looks to that statement. Turns out I was right, I know these things, we do the same with our Krewe Of Southdowns parade. We then went back to our previous street position where we were once again the one deep crowd. The Rex riders were also very generous with their throws and we added more to the already filling bags. The theme of the Rex parade was Gods Of All The Ages. Here’s a doubloon.
Here’s this years Rex cup, great size for homemade smoothies….
This years cup features the Rex Streetcar. The past few years have featured the Kings Float, The Royal Bandwagon and The Jester floats. After Rex blew by quickly as Zulu did, we headed back to the car picking up doubloons from the street along the way. That’s how few folks there were on the street, good throws left for the picking and I picked a few, I do like my doubloons. It was still raining lightly when we got to the car and called it a day. The time was about 1:15pm. Usually Rex wouldn’t even have been nearly over from our parade positions but this year it was a weather thing. Five hours on the street and we called it a day as a few feets were cold and some of our hands were just starting to get feeling back in them after going numb due to wet and cold. Reminder, get hand warmers, something both Melanie and I thought of the day before but didn’t act on. Ya learn the hard way sometimes. The ladies then got Bill’s highlights and lowlifes tour of New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day. Over by JFJ’s place to see if his across the street neighbor, Big Chief David Montana had come out in his new suit(but probably did today as I type this, it’s St. Joseph’s Day in New Orleans, one of the days the Mardi Gras Indians come out). Didn’t look like it as there was no one around. Passed by the Fairgrounds where there was horse racing, another day in the season and it looked like it was hopping. Looked like there were some Indians over on St. Claude at Claiborne but did a uturn in the street as I didn’t want to get stuck in a crowd of people, pedestrians rule on Mardi Gras Day. A ride along the Lakefront was on the agenda also. Then it was back across the lake and a quick ride along the Mandeville lakefront, one of my favorite places in the state. Also a pass by Ruby’s Roadhouse(a great funky roadhouse bar) revealed a party going on there. Next was a welcome stop by Café du Monde in Mandeville for coffee and beignets that hit the spot. Then it was back to Madisonville to split up da loot………
Each of us brought back a full Rex bag of throws, all seen here laid out on the table with blue garbage bag underneath as most of this stuff was wet…..
left-right: Debbie, Bill, Melanie back at the house. A fun great day was had by all who attended. These were the only pictures taken on Mardi Gras Day, all the cameras stayed in the backpacks. My apologies for not doing the full photo spread this year, blame it on the rain. At least my purple green gold face paint didn’t run.