|Click any photo to "embiggen"|
First was to get dressed. What to wear, what to wear?
Then we made our way to a location deep in the Bywater, no address, just a vague description. It was here, we'd been told, that the St. Anne parade would stop, and costumed revelers would gather before moving onward into the French Quarter to meet the Rex parade.
As we walked through the streets under a cold crisp morning sky, the breeze tugging at our feathered boas and masks, we encountered other revelers moving in the same direction. We followed them up Clouet Street where, in front of a small house, an amazing host of carnival-goers were gathered.
These were truly the most amazing costumes I've ever encountered. Everywhere you looked there were fabulous creatures; peacocks and pirates, butterflies and pashas, flower baskets on legs and the Queen of Hearts.
The backyard and garden gates were thrown open, and people gathered round punchbowls holding colorful mxtures, or they posed along the gallery. It was like a receiving line of creativity on legs.
Out in the street, the gathering had swelled, the drummers played and people danced, even leaping up on top of a parked van to dance on the roof.
Soon, the masses converged at Dauphine and Clouet and, following bright circlets of fluttering ribbons, began to move uptown.
We had other plans, however. We pressed through the crowds back to our car, and drove to the Treme, hoping to find Mardi Gras Indians at the Backstreets Museum, or to catch the Zulu parade as it wove up Basin Street. We parked at St. Augustine Church,
No Indians yet, but members of the Northside Skull and Bones Gang were dancing on the front porch - among them, our good friend Ronald Lewis. Skull and Bones is another African-American tradition in New Orleans, one that dates back over 200 years.
|Yakamein, or "ole sober"|
|Our friend Donna with Ronald Lewis|
|A gathering of ethnomusicologists|
This was a great scene here, with music and food and drink. Only a few blocks away from the parade route for Zulu, it allowed folks to break away for a glimpse of that much bigger parade, and then return for some more relaxation.
Our little group split up, with some going to find Zulu. The two of us went, instead, in search of more adventure.. We set out to find the Mardi Gras Indians up "under the bridge," at Claiborne Avenue.
All on a Mardi Gras Day.