The Mystic Krewe of Hermes is one of the old line Mardi Gras krewes, founded in 1938 by a group of businessmen. Their parade has been rolling on the Friday before Mardi Gras since then, their floats decked out with neon and accompanied by marchers bearing flambeaux, or flaming torches.
We finished up dinner at Pascal's Manale restaurant, and when we came out on Napoleon Avenue, we could see the parade moving on St. Charles Avenue a couple of blocks down. We headed down there, dodging around the construction barriers for the seemingly endless storm sewer project that's been tearing up Napoleon for months.
We managed to find a place on the neutral ground just in front of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. People had been camping out here for hours, making themselves at home with their stocked beer coolers, their camp chairs, and their parade ladders.
We were lucky - one family had a sturdy little plastic cart that served as a nice barricade against shoving crowds and a place to put my go-cup of sauvignon blanc from the restaurant.
And then we watched the floats roll past.
As they drew alongside us, everyone around me raised their hands in the air for a throw.
The floats alternated with high school marching bands, with shining brass and fancy shakos, helmets and hats.
This is a family scene - everything is wholesome. Not as many fantastically costumed spectators as there were at downtown parades. It was a chilly night, so people were bundled up.
Comfort was near at hand; the Fathers Club of the Academy of the Sacred Heart were operating a refreshment stand right in front of the church entrance. Red beans and rice, nachos, sodas and water were on sale, as well as daiquiris, margaritas and beer. You could also get a cup of coffee with a shot, or hot chocolate spiked with kahlua.
Heaven be praised for the Fathers of the Sacred Heart, whose offerings warmed my chilled bones and gladdened the spirits of the many parade-going bros like these young men.