Thursday, February 23, 2017

Spring awakening

There are signs of spring in New Orleans, although it's easy to think we've skipped spring and gone right to summer, since in recent days the temperature has been in the high 70's.

This morning on my walk along the river, I spotted redbud trees, cercis occidentalis, in bloom.

The sun on the water was glittering, the breeze was light, and the water of the Mississippi River slapped lazily against the old wharves.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Costume madness

Serious costuming - St. Ann parade 2016
It's Mardi Gras, and everybody is talking about costumes. There are costume parties. Costume sales. The Beauty Plus store on St. Claude at Elysian Fields is crammed with shoppers.

I never really got excited over dressing up for Halloween. My mom once made me a fairy costume, complete with wings. But I felt silly in it. As a pre-teen, the most common costume for my social set was a "bum" which meant torn clothes and dark smudges on my face. Maybe a blacked-out tooth, if I got really creative.

As a teen, I was way too cool to dress up at all.

And as a young woman, I felt too self-conscious to draw attention to myself even with flashy normal attire, much less fancy dress.

I worked in a trade where the standard attire was t-shirts and jeans. I remember one year when I was desperately poor, I stretched my budget to buy a clean flannel shirt to wear to a cast party I was invited to, and thought I was dressing up.

Purple wig, gloves and a cocktail - getting there
At my recent job, my agency had a cross-departmental Halloween party, with a costume contest. The Solid Waste Division seemed to be the most creative, dressing everyone up as recycling bins and composters.

So, as I have now, in my second half-century, moved to a place where costume, fancy dress, and just plain eccentric attire is the norm, I have to get with the program.

Mardi Gras Day 2016 - still dressing down
Last year for Mardi Gras, I discovered head-wear that suited me. I have never liked to wear hats - my head is too small for most.

But fascinators - they're lightweight, fun, and don't leave you with hat-hair. So last year I made baby steps of wearing a red fascinator to Carnival.

At the Race Track
The same strategy worked for me at Halloween this year; and also at the Race Track for Thanksgiving funny-hat day.

This year, I attended the annual Twelfth Night party at Vaughans Lounge, where costumes were mandatory. A mask and a purple wig went a long way.

I have visited some of the wonderful and hidden secret costume sales that pop up all over New Orleans.
Mardi Gras bandeau - good for cold nights
Mardi Gras chapeau
I have discovered a new liking for hats.

Note to self: no more corsets
I have had a few costume mishaps.

This week, I'm putting the finishing touches on my Mardi Gras Day costume. I'm spending a lot of time with a hot glue gun.

I hope to be able to show you my results - without embarrassment.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Gone to the dogs

Yesterday was the parade of the Krewe of Barkus, rolling in the French Quarter.

It's a parade to celebrate our four-footed friends!

Some folks just couldn't take the excitement.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Krewe of Chewbacchus in the 9th Ward last night

The Krewe of Chewbacchus rolled on St. Claude Avenue in the 9th Ward last night.

This parade salutes Science Fiction and tech-geekiness, with people-powered floats 

and bands of marches, including a thousand Princess Leias - the Leijorettes.

Friday, February 17, 2017

World's luckiest dog

He's about six pounds of cute.

He's just a pup. Custody of him is shared between a six year old girl named Maya and her grandparents, Cindy and Big Chris.

His name is Olaf, if you listen to Maya, or El Chapo, if you listen to Cindy and Big Chris.

His personality is more like El Chapo - a scrappy dude with needle-like teeth and a tendency to chew your fingers.

He spends his days mostly with Big Chris, whom he adores.

Sometimes, other people get to share in the love.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Under seige

The last couple of afternoons, I've noticed big helicopters zooming overhead. I chalked it up to the tornado damage in New Orleans East, which took place on Tuesday. But they have been loud and flying very low in my neighborhood.

Last night I was awakened from sleep around 1:00 am by what sounded like an explosion, and by helicopters zooming overhead. This went on for some time, so I checked on my phone the local Next Door site - Next Door is a kind of neighborhood watch online.

Lots of people were up and disturbed by the activity. Some people said they'd heard machine gun fire.

Turns out it was the NOPD running some training games out of the old Navy facility on Poland Avenue at the Industrial Canal. On Facebook, a friend said he'd talked to a police commander at the gates who didn't seem all that concerned that an entire neighborhood of residents was being frightened out of their beds.

Another friend posted that patrons coming out of Vaughan's Lounge after a late night set by Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet were shocked and surprised, as though they'd entered a fire fight.

The NOPD's official announcement claimed they'd informed local residents and private property owners, but the Bywater Neighborhood Association said they had not been informed. Nor had homeowners or businesses on Poland Avenue.

There might be more of this over the weekend. At least now we know what it is.

UPDATE: NOPD says it's the Army running "urban military training." 

As another friend of mine commented, "They're training all right. They're training us."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017