I had thee best time Wednesday! Sit down a spell and I’ll tell you all about my pretty darned awesome experience riding with the Mystic Krewe of Nyx.
My riding experience actually began Tuesday with float loading. All of the floats are pulled out of the barn and brought to a place undisclosed to the public. We’re given a 3 hour window to load and/or check our throws. You could feel the excitement around the floats as the sisters were busy getting their throws ready for the big night. The men were just as awesome as ever….checking to see if anyone needed help carrying throws or putting bike hooks up (we use them to hold throws). We just needed the rain to hold up.
The weather wasn’t looking all that great for us. It rained Tuesday and light showers were expected around our time to roll.
But remember, I said it wouldn’t rain on Nyx the year I rode with them.
And the rain held up!
Wednesday morning began with a light breakfast at home. I had some last-minute float things to do which took some time so I stayed pretty close to home until it was time to leave. Around 10:30 a.m. I dressed in full gear and headed out to the float loading area once again to drop off my decorated purses.
The pre-party began at noon. I arrived around that time and checked in to enter the hall. Security is very tight at the pre-party and you have to show identification to enter. Once checked in, I received my wristband and I was good to go! The pre-party was off the chain! It was held at Generations Hall … they did a wonderful job. The staff was excellent and there was more than enough food and spirits to keep over 1200 women happy!
Mardi Gras music filled the hall as the ladies talked, laughed and enjoyed being around other nyx sisters.
After a while, we could hear the sound of brass in the building. Well, with a brass band in the house, only one thing was going to happen…
time to second line!
Did you notice all the different color wigs and headdresses? That’s because every year, there is a headdress competition. Each float comes up with an idea that’s related to the theme of their float and create headdresses to wear. There were some pretty spectacular headdresses…there’s a lot of creativity in the krewe.
The pre-party was about 4 hours long. I enjoyed every last-minute of it. It was wonderful being around so many happy women who were eager to spread that happiness on to the City of New Orleans. Shortly after the headdress competition, we were called to board the floats. Each float had a designated sister holding a sign and we followed that person to the float.
That’s when it really hit me!
The waiting patiently to receive an invitation to join, all the hard work and dedication it takes to create purses..its all been for this moment,
TIME TO RIDE!
Once boarded up and ready to go, we were escorted by the New Orleans Police Department to the staging area. During this time riders began organizing more of their throws or just took a minute to take it all in.
I took it all in.
Here’s a short clip I created of the ride and how the floats move to the staging area.
This is where the bands and dancing troupes are waiting to “fall in line” with the floats.
Once we reached the staging area and the band scheduled to march in front of us fell in line,
IT WAS ON!
Here’s a clip of the parade coming down the street
We began to throw like crazy to the crowd! You go through sensory overload with so many people screaming for throws for 5 miles, but I enjoyed every single second of it.
The joy that you see when you give someone a throw is priceless. I particularly loved giving decorated purses to those who did not think they would get one from me.
The crowd was very gracious!
Posters for purses were everywhere! It was spectacular!
A sinus attack kicked in on me around Lee Circle and by the time I made it to the end of the route, I was toast.
I’d do it all in a heartbeat though…sinus attack and all.
It was just that fabulous!
Thanks to all my wonderful friends,family and readers who came out in the cold to support me and the krewe. It means so much to me that you were there for my inaugural ride.
The city showed the Krewe of Nyx so much love that night.
I’m looking forward to many years of riding
with this wonderful krewe,
in this fabulous city.
May 26th, Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club held its election day. A day filled with food, friends and festivities (like any other day in NOLA) members of the club (Zulu isn’t a krewe) voted for the king and characters for Mardi Gras 2014.
Congratulations to King Elect Garren Mims
BigShot Elect–Kreig Perkins
WitchDoctor Elect–Derek Rabb
May you all have a wonderful reign!
Despite the fact that the Quarters were shrouded in fog and mist…
…revelers were fueling up and getting their groove on for the day
And the time had come to get the party started!
I can’t imagine living my life without the ability to have some fun on Mardi Gras day – the party helps us remember not to take life so seriously.
Hope everyone had a fabulous time – until next year, or the next big event!
The French Quarter’s Royal Sonesta Hotel originated this 43-year tradition of greasing the hotel’s gallery support poles to “deter over zealous revelers from shimmying up to coveted Bourbon Street balcony space during carnival season.” This year’s venerable yet humorous Mardi Gras spectacle delivered wonderfully, featuring “celebrity guests, great local music, and a whole lot of petroleum jelly!”
While I’m still not yet certain who officially was voted the champion pole greaser for 2013 (and, really, that’s never been the point of this event), I know for a fact that a fun and unusual “only in New Orleans” tradition was enjoyed by all in attendance!
As my friend @CaptainSwallow quipped, “only in New Orleans could ye use the term ‘celebrity pole greaser’ politely!”
From the Urban Dictionary: A Goat Rodeo… is about the most polite term used by aviation people (and others in higher risk situations) to describe a scenario that requires about 100 things to go right at once if you intend to walk away from it.”
Thanks to this past Super Bowl, most of the country has gotten a bit of an idea of what it is to live in a goat rodeo as we do in New Orleans. Personally, I think if the scoreboard hadn’t gone out as well, play could’ve resumed right off in a half-lit Superdome, but that 34-minute delay sure made for a lot of fun on Twitter, most of it coming from the locals.
The thing most people cannot understand unless they live here is how much the week of Carnivalus interruptus has thrown us revelers for a loop. Honestly, if I hadn’t had the Abita Springs’ Krewe of Pushmow parade in which to march the Saturday just before the big game, I’d be running through the streets begging the greasy-food stand on my parade-watching corner that disappeared for the week before February 3rd to return and rounding up a bunch of people to throw the carnival goodies collected in my attic at nearby sidewalks and neutral grounds just to justify the booth’s presence. We don’t need all the famous people here to have fun, and if they happen to be here, we don’t particularly care.
Having said that, in goat rodeo terms, this has been one of the easiest-going Carnivals I’ve experienced in part because of that break, in part because I have a bit of a particular party pooper for a son (if he goes to the parades, they must be day parades unless he’s with peers who are attending a night parade, and the weather must be pretty good, and he must be plied with snacks – some of them coming from that greasy-food stand – and a few boxes of gunpowder poppers from the carts that troll the crowds just before a parade, looking to sell wares one can most likely catch off a float later on), and in part because I’ve got so much stuff in that attic I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t matter much to me what we get this year. As a result, I’ve been able to kick back a little and enjoy some of the quirkier aspects of New Orleans Carnival.
I got to enjoy my fifth year of marching in Krewe du Vieux with the Seeds of Decline. We had a marvelous float tweaking Chick-Fil-A, in case you couldn’t tell from my costume:
(Photo copyright 2013 by Sean Ambrose)
I dragged my son to see the Krewe of ‘tit Rex, which he wasn’t thrilled about at first, until he got some of the mini throws the krewe members pass to paradegoers as they pull their elegant (and topical) shoebox floats through the Marigny.
We managed to fit in a look at the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus a few hours later on the same night – of which my personal favorite part was seeing these guys yip-yip-yip their way along the parade route. Uh-huh uh-huh.
But we all got together with friends for a beautiful morning of marching through Abita Springs as a band of pirates. I even emerged with sunburned shoulders this year – it’s tough being a faire pirate wenche.
Anyway, I’m sure the goat rodeo will be in full swing in this parade-packed march to Mardi Gras day. ‘Til then, roll with it, be safe…
and Happy Marrrrr-di Gras to all.
“Mardi Gras morning when the sun comes up, I drink fire water from a silver cup”
Last night began six days of non-stop parading leading up to Fat Tuesday, the happiest and most fun-filled day in the New Orleans calendar. We at NOLAFemmes want to wish all of you a wonderful and safe Mardi Gras. We’ll see ya on the other side.
Photo courtesy of the very talented Dawn Carl.
Last year at this time, my daughter was crossing off the days until the Muses parade on her calendar — a handmade number made of pink construction paper with silver glitter borders, sprinkles of red, pink, and white glitter sparkles, the month and days written in her rough cursive handwriting, and the numbers big and bold in black marker. Each day, after we talked about the things we were grateful for that day, she wrote in her diary, and told me what she hoped to dream of that night. Then it would be time to cross off one more day, slimming down the days until we took to the streets of New Orleans with our book bag full of art supplies, snacks, and her favorite books waiting for parade start.
The beauty that is carnival time in New Orleans was stolen from her that night with the words of drunk young man that didn’t know her, but made a snap judgment about her based on a patch she had on her sleeve: a puzzle piece with the word “autistic” written on it. He lashed out when I asked him to move after he nearly lit her hair on fire with a cigarette, spilled some cheap beer out of his red SOLO cup, and blocked her view from the parade. First he mocked us to his friends, saying he had to move because the woman and her “retard” daughter couldn’t see, then he looked directly at us, even narrowing his gaze onto my daughter, when he proclaimed that the “retard” was making watching the parade a challenge.
Our words have power. Words mean things. To her, that word meant that she wasn’t accepted and that there was something “wrong” with her. It made her feel that no one would accept her. She wanted to just go home.
It was difficult to walk away from my daughter being treated that way. I’ve even seen some comments online calling me a coward for not standing up to this young man. My concern in that moment, however, was not an unpredictable drunken stranger, but my daughter. It was more important to make sure my daughter was ok, that she knew she was loved, and that she knew that she was accepted just as she is. I think I made the right choice.
What he did to her that night, in his drunken stupor, didn’t need to happen. But it did. And that night, it changed the way she looked at Mardi Gras. That night, he became a thief, stealing with his words something from my daughter that could be made right, but never be made whole. Not as if it didn’t happen.
It’s that time of year again. Families will pack up their children – all ages and all abilities – and will line the streets to be participants in one of the most magical traditions New Orleans has to offer. It’s the time of year where family memories are made, where legacies begin, and where laughter and smiles overtake even the heaviest of hearts. Strangers become friends and friends reconnect. In those moments, along that parade route, everything else plaguing the city disappears. We become one place, a united place, we become the best of New Orleans has to offer.
This year, please offer a kind word to the person next to you. You do not know what battle they are facing that day. If you cannot offer kindness, then please, above all, do not do any harm. Be mindful of your actions and responsible with your words. If you see the person next to you struggling a little bit, offer a hand. As much as Mardi Gras is one of the most magical traditions New Orleans offers, the kindness and love of the city is really what makes this city what it is – the best damn city in the world.
As for us this year, we were invited by the Krewe of Muses to watch this year’s parade from their box at Gallier Hall. Instead of worrying about drunken college boys calling my daughter names, we will be joined by two players from Tulane’s baseball team wanting to make right what a boy their age made wrong. Emily said it made sense to have baseball players there. There is a lot of catching in baseball and Mardi Gras, don’t you know? Thank you, Krewe of Muses, for everything you did last year with Emily Gras (another post about that soon) and for this very special invitation to Emily this year.
If you see us along the parade route, come on over and say hello. Mardi Gras is the place where new friends meet.
Have you read The Gumbo Pages? If you haven’t, you should. I shamelessly stole this from there because I was reading it this morning and it made me laugh. I want you to laugh too. Happy Carnival!
You don’t learn until high school that Mardi Gras is not a national holiday.
You don’t learn until graduate school that Mardi Gras is not a national holiday.
You push little old ladies out of the way to catch Mardi Gras throws.
Little old ladies push you out of the way to catch Mardi Gras throws.
You leave a parade with footprints on your hands.
You bring empty grocery bags to a parade.
Every time you hear sirens you think it’s a Mardi Gras parade.
On Christmas Eve, your daughter looks up in the sky, sees Santa Claus and yells, “T’row me somethin’, mister!”
You fill your Nativity creche with king cake babies dressed like Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the wise men and the angels.
You go buy a new winter coat and throw your arms up in the air to make sure it allows enough room to catch Mardi Gras beads.
Rebecca C. Este
You have a parade ladder in your shed.
Your finest china has Endymion written on it.
Your first sentence was, “Throw me something, mistah,” and your first drink was from a go-cup.
You wonder what Anne Rice has against a building that looks like a Mardi Gras float.
You can’t stand people that say “THE Mardi Gras” or “THE Jazzfest”.
You proudly claim that Monkey Hill is the highest point in Louisiana.
You know the Irish Channel is not Gaelic-language programming on cable.
You drive your car up onto the neutral ground if it rains steadily and heavily for more than two hours.
You have flood insurance.
Someone asks for an address by compass directions and you say it’s Uptown, downtown, backatown, riverside or lakeside.
Your idea of a cruise ship is the Canal Street ferry, and your idea of a foreign cruise ship is the Chalmette ferry.
Your burial plot is six feet over rather than six feet under.
You can pronounce “Chop-a-tool-is” but can’t spell it.
You can pronounce and spell Tchoupitoulas.
You don’t worry when you see ships riding higher in the river than your house.
You know the West Bank has nothing to do with Israel or the Middle East.
If someone says “Magazine,” you think street instead of periodical.
You still call the the bus “Public Service”.
You get on a bus marked “cemeteries” without a second thought.
You have no idea what a turn signal is or how to properly use it.
You know that the two speeds dey got in dis city are “slow” and “stop”.
Bunny Matthews, recounted from from actual dialogue heard in New Orleans
You can cross two lanes of heavy traffic and U-turn through a neutral ground while avoiding two joggers and a streetcar, then fit into the oncoming traffic flow while never touching the brake.
You can consistently be the second or third person to run a red stop light.
You know how long you have to run to a store, get what you need and get back to your car before you get a parking ticket.
You got rear-ended 10 times by people with no insurance.
You take a “right-hand turn” instead of a right turn.
You get off the stoop, walk down the banquette and cross the neutral ground to go get a sno-ball.
The major topics of conversation when you go out to eat are restaurant meals that you have had in the past and restaurant meals that you plan to have in the future.
The major topics of conversation most of the rest of the time are restaurant meals that you have had in the past and restaurant meals that you plan to have in the future.
You judge a restaurant by its bread.
You consider having a good meal as your birthright.
You have gained 10 or 15 pounds permanently, but you don’t care anymore.
You not only think the colors purple, green and gold look good together, but you would also consider eating something that was those colors.
You know the definition of “dressed.”
Shirley T. Fayard
You think `drinking water’ when you look at the Mississippi
River. C. Gonzalez
The white stuff on your face is powdered sugar.
You know better than to drink hurricanes or eat Lucky Dogs.
You visit another city and they “claim” to have Cajun food — but you know better.
You have the opening date of any sno-ball stand in your Daytimer.
You know that a po-boy is not a guy who has no money, but a great-tasting French bread sandwich.
You judge a po-boy by the number of napkins used.
The four seasons of your year are crawfish, shrimp, crab and erster.
You love Maspero’s, like the prices, hate the line, so you know to sit at the wonderfully old bar to place your order and enjoy.
Your stomach can handle a dozen Manuel’s tamales at 3 a.m. after having a few at Markey or Saturn Bar.
The waitress at your local sandwich shop tells you a fried oyster po-boy dressed is healthier than a Caesar salad.
Your 3-year-old child comes home singing his latest nursery rhyme:
“Alligator pie, alligator pie,
If I don’t get some, I think I’m gonna cry.
Give away the green grass, give away the sky,
But don’t give away my alligator pie.”
You can eat Popeyes original chicken, Haydel’s kingcake and Zapp’s while waiting for Zulu. Then you go to Jackson Square for a Central Grocery muffaletta with a Barq’s while sucking hot crawdads and cold Acme oysters, hurricanes and several Abitas. Then you can ride the St. Charles Avenue streetcar home past Camellia Grill for a chili-cheese omelette … without losing it all on your front stoop.
Dan C. Frisard
Ya stood yaselfs in da line by Galatoire’s.
Zide B. Jahncke
A friend gets in trouble for roaches in his car and you wonder if it was palmettos or those little ones that go after the French fries that fell under the seat.
You refer to any strawberry soda as “Red Drink.” As in, “Get me a Red Drink to go wit’ my po’ boy.”
You cried when McKenzie’s went out of business, and … you had tears of joy when you found out that Tastee’s made McKenzie’s King Cakes.
Suck da head, squeeze da tip…
Someone at a crawfish boil says, “Don’t eat the dead ones,” and you know what they mean.
You don’t really teach people the right way to eat crawfish, so there’s more for you.
Your idea of cutting back on calories is to suck the heads and not eat the tails.
The smell of a crawfish boil turns you on more than Chanel No. 5.
You enjoy sucking heads more than sucking face.
Your idea of foreplay is pinching dem tails and sucking dem heads and chasing it down with a cold Abita beer.
You eat the poo veins.
You berl crawfish and fry them in erl. Don’t forget to pack the uneaten tails in ferl.
There is a St. Joseph lucky bean in ya mama’s coin purse.
You have eaten fig cookies from the St. Joseph altar while still hung over from St. Patrick’s Day.
The first thing you do every morning is pick up The Times-Picayune obit section to see “who died inna papuh?”
When you were growing up you loved to go on the “chute da chute” at the playground and never heard of a slide.
Ya making groceries at Schwegmann’s with ya mama to buy Dixie beer and crawfish so you can eat and suck heads in the French Quarter before a Mardi Gras parade.
You use the term “Schwegmann’s bag” as a unit of measurement: “Did ya catch a lot at da parade? Yeah you rite! A whole Schwegmann bag full!”
You know your homonyms, synonyms and your “mom-n-ems.”
When you speak with a tourist, he asks, “Are you from Brooklyn?”
You make groceries at Schwegmann’s to get da Zatarains for da crawfish. Den, ya suck da heads of those crawfish for da juice. Don’t forget da beer and da white Russian daiquiris. Afterwards, you go down to Randazzo’s for some king cake. While in da parish, you stop at Rocky’s for some baked macaroni to take home. On Mondays, you get da begneits, coffee and da Gambit. (Dat Gambit has everything.) For lunch, you go down to Mother’s for some red beans and rice. Tomorrow, you get da muffaletta at da Central Grocery. And dat’s what we do in New Awlins, dawlin’.
You’re not afraid when someone wants to “ax” you.
You were born at Baptist, raised in Metry and hang with Vic and Nat’ly.
You go by ya mom-n-ems on Good Friday to eat crawfish, drink beers and play touch football on the neutral ground.
You have no idea what a dragonfly is, but enjoy watching mosquito hawks fly near the lagoons in City Park.
Crescent City Classics
You still write “NOPSI” on your utility bill.
You still hope Angela and Garland get back together.
You know where you got your shoes.
You ask someone where they went to school and they tell you which high school they attended.
You were in high school before you learned that the two major religions aren’t “Catholic” and “public”.
You haven’t been to Bourbon Street in years.
You know better than to try to rent a room at Hotel Dieu.
You can remove the cap from a Tabasco bottle with one hand.
You know the color purple is a drugstore and not a movie.
You refer to objects of a certain color as being “K&B purple.”
Your favorite color is “K&B purple.”
You know the lyrics to the jingles for Seafood City, Pontchartrain Beach and Rosenberg’s.
If you’re an expatriate New Orleanian, living in another city, and you meet another expatriate New Orleanian, within 15 minutes you will be singing the jingles for Seafood City, Pontchartrain Beach and Rosenberg’s.
You have seen men in tuxedos boiling crawfish on a TV commercial.
You have a special set of well-broken-in shoes you refer to as your “French Quarter” shoes.
You still call the convenience store “Time Saver.”
You move somewhere else and you feel like you are from Oz and you moved to Kansas.
Everywhere else just seems like Cleveland.
Every so often, you have waterfront property.
Your last name isn’t pronounced the way it’s spelled.
You believe Al and Anne are the Uptown version of Vic & Nat’ly.
You know what a nutria is but you still pick it to represent your baseball team.
You have spent a summer afternoon on the Lake Pontchartrain seawall catching blue crabs.
You play hopscotch on “da bankit.”
You remember waiting up and staying awake for complete TV coverage of the meeting of the Comus and Rex courts.
You watch a movie filmed in New Orleans and say things like, “Dere ain’t no way they can run out of a cemetery right on to Bourbon Street … and don’t call me ‘Cher.'”
Mary K. Maunoir
That brown bag you take to the Saints game ain’t your lunch.
You really were in Tulane Stadium during the Saints first game when John Gilliam ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown.
And you really were in Tulane Stadium when Tom Dempsey kicked the NFL record field goal to win the game against the Lions with 2 seconds remaining in the game. (The record still stands, 27 years later.)
You know that “Tipitina” is not a gratuity for a waitress named Tina.
You have to buy a new house because you ran out of wall space for Jazz Fest posters.
You like your rice and politics dirty and dislike clean living.
People tell you that they have known you since you were knee high to a duck.
You still wear your high school band jacket.
You worry about deceased family members returning in spring floods.
You can ask for lagniappe and not feel guilty.
Merlin L. Taylor
You reply to anything and everything about life here with, “Only in New Orleans.
You know that Morgus the Magnificent was a horror movie host, a Mac Rebennack song and a sno-ball flavor.
Robert LaCour Greenberg
Party on, Earl
You’re out of town and you stop and ask someone where there’s a drive-thru daiquiri place (then they look at you like you have three heads).
You go to sleep Friday evening before you go out Friday night.
Someone mentions the Democratic party and you ask, “Where, what time and is it B.Y.O.L.?”
You consider a Bloody Mary a light breakfast.
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor hail will keep you from the Jazz Fest.
You have a monogrammed go-cup.
You use your Gambit as your social calendar.
You like your crawfish so hot, you can’t distinguish between sweat, snot and crawfish juice.
Your ‘do is high enough to catch stray crawfish juice and able to stand 100 percent humidity and temperatures above 90 degrees.
Your butt burns when you go to the bathroom.
Do you have something to add? Chuck says email him.