Sunday, January 31, 2016

Silly little things

The 'tit Rex parade is a silly little thing. Literally. This odd-ball Mardi Gras parade consists of teeny-tiny floats, all built on the base of a shoe-box. 'tit Rex's name (pronounced "Tee Rex") includes the Cajun diminutive for "petit," and it's a joke, playing on the venerated and famous super-parade, Krewe of Rex.

Though small, the floats are often marvels of engineering, with mechanical figures and flashing lights. The wee, intricate floats are pulled by ropes, their black-clad marchers like so many children with pull-toys. 

With their tiny wheels, they move slowly and precariously along the battered and pot-holed asphalt of the Marigny, joggling and jouncing, and sometimes disasters occur as the constant battering jostles tiny decorative parts off their moorings or electrical contacts apart from their connections. At times, the parade - one of the shortest routes of Mardi Gras - grinds to a halt as float-makers kneel on the street to triage some broken part of the flashing little wheeled dollhouse before them.

The fragility of the floats and their frequent breakdown may explain the tardiness of the parade - by the time we saw first the bells of Sousaphones rising over the crowd, an hour and a half had gone by and my flask of rum-and-coke was empty.

'tit Rex is followed by the Krewe of Chewbacchus parade, which start in the Marigny near 'tit Rex's route. So many of the spectators lining the narrow streets were participants of Chewbacchus, and we saw many a Star-Trooper, Princess Leia, and Wookie hanging out in front of the Love Lost Lounge on Franklin Street. Chewbacchus is often referred to as the parade for nerds, and its adherents are fans of science fiction, fantasy, and game-playing. So among the Star Wars characters were other fantastic creatures.

The tiny scale of 'tit Rex makes it strangely easy for spectators to see the floats, as people come off the curbs and bend way down, I-phones in hand, to snap or video images of the little parade.

"Sometimes I wish I'd bring a yoga mat," said my friend Becky, "so I could lie down on the street to watch them go by."

'tit Rex is good for children, too, who love to watch the little floats pass, and hope to make one of their own one day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The amount of wine they consume beforehand probably also slows 'em down a bit. Wished we'd made it. (Louie helped save one tiny float maker Wednesday.)