Sunday, February 14, 2010

MARDI GRAS STREET PARTY


There are parades every day during Mardi Gras. I attended my first one yesterday in the National Historic District of Algiers. During the long wait for the parade to come by our chosen spot, I learned that the parade, especially a daytime one like this, is really about family, a neighborhood party. The locals set up their barbeque pits, tables, ice chests and were serving friends and neighbors who happened by. Everyone was enjoying the potato salad, hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs and chicken. Good food, happy greetings, meeting old friends, cousins and neighbors; showing off the grand babies. The kids are out of school.


This veteran parade attendee brought his special ladder. I thought maybe it was for camera gear, but Jim recalled attending a parade where practically everyone had ladders. Later, this fellow perched his two little kids on the seat so they could see above the crowd.


The young girls walked by, hoping to catch the eye of a young man. The gentleman sitting next to me told me his wife told him to quit ogling the girls. He was setting a bad example for his grandson. But he and I agreed this was a great ritual for the young. Some shy girls and boys, some bold and confident want to be seen. We saw one girl dressed in tattered jeans and mink; others with colorful shoes, fancy clothes, pants hung low, dreds and mohawks, or their best hairdos. It was fun to watch the interplay.


Vendors passed by with their trinkets; young boys tossed footballs and ran skirmishes around the adults. Young girls showed off their best dresses and giggled a lot. The cute little dog drew a lot of attention, only 11 months old.


The long awaited floats began to arrive. This parade was hosted by the Nomtoc Krewe. Floats lose their appeal a bit in the bright sunshine of day. And, in fact, the welcome sun, and our position, made it hard to get good pictures. The whole purpose of the floats seems to be throwing trinkets. They fly everywhere. I caught quite a few and it was a lot of fun. One "floater" asked Jim: "How many grandchildren do you have?" He told him three and the guy threw him 3 stuffed animals.


It was difficult to discipher the theme of many of the floats.


The paint was drying on this basketball player the day we went through the Mardi Gras Museum.


This one was entitled, The Race Is On.


The bands played. This young man has a glass of water in his horn.


I spoke briefly to this girl's very tired looking mother marching along beside her and asked her, "Did you know when your daughter joined band you'd be marching the parades with her?" She shook her head, no, and smiled.


The band took a rest break in front of us and the horns hit the street. One marcher rested his hat on his horn.


What is a parade without horses? If you look closely you can see beads flying through the air.


This adroit group of riders had several boys who could ride backwards. Quite a feat.

After the parade, we rolled for home and bought fresh trout and shrimp for dinner. What a treat. Each day we pass a stand with several fresh fish vendors on our way back to the park.

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