Saturday, February 25, 2017


I had a great invitation Friday night to watch three of the big Uptown Mardi-Gras parades. My friend's party was on a balcony right at the corner of St. Charles and Canal Streets - a perfect viewing site.

First came the Knights of Babylon Parade. It was preceded by a trio of flambeaux, or men holding torch-like contraptions. This is a vestige of Mardi Gras past, before the streets were lit. It is customary to tip flambeaux, and they play to the crowd, as this gentlemen in a pink tutu does.

Babylon's floats are quite beautiful and traditional in style, eschewing the satirical or political commentary expressed by many Krewes. This year they were based on musical references. Knights of Babylon is an old krewe, founded in 1939.

They were followed by the Knights of Chaos, which is a bit more raucous and satirical.

They had a lot of material to work with this year.

The third parade of the evening was the Krewe of Muses. This is a popular favorite, a krewe lead by women and celebrating the arts, humor, whimsy - and of course, current affairs.

The Queen of Muses rides in a giant high-heeled pump.

The view from the balcony
The most coveted "throws" of Mardi Gras  are the hand-decorated shoes created by the women who ride in Muses. My friend Susan has been coveting one for 15 years. This year, a shoe was thrown to her but it glanced off her hand and was caught by a young boy in our party. Susan graciously let him keep it - better luck next year!

One of my favorite Muses floats this year was the Bathing Muses in a clawfoot tub, followed by a convoy of rubber duckies.

Of course there was political commentary.

The parades all showcase the wonderful high school marching bands in New Orleans and surrounding areas.

Muses also hosts the many marching clubs and dance troupes that have formed in New Orleans. These clubs are primarily made up of women - women of all ages, shapes and sizes. But there are also some men's clubs, too. The clubs that marched in Muses included the Camel-Toe Lady Steppers, the Big Easy Roller Girls, the Cherry Bombs,

the Pussyfooters,
Lady Godiva Riders
Lady Godiva Riders (you can imagine their costumes)

and The Bearded Oysters. The men's group included

The Krewe of the Rolling Elvii  - Elvis impersonators on scooters, followed by a float carrying the Priscillas.

Other men's groups include the Dead Rock Stars and the Laissez Boys - this last being a bunch of guys who ride around in motorized barcaloungers.

Muses also has fancy bicyclists and butterfly puppets and many other wonders. It's a beautiful parade and worth the wait.

Now I'm off to find a neighborhood marching band. Happy Mardi Gras!

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