Monday, March 7, 2011

A Long Revelry Filled Sunday

The weather dawned crisp and not quite clear, but with no rain in sight. We took the shuttle into town and after a coffee began a stroll through the French Quarter toward the Uptown parade route. Five huge parades were on the agenda today, Okeanos, Mid City, Thoth, Bacchus, and Endymion.
We happened upon the Bacchus Krewe members loading themselves and their throws onto regular city horse/mule drawn carriages that they had reserved. From the line, it looked like they had all the carriages.
We decided to pay for the viewing stand at Serio's again as it gave you good views of the parades and access to bathrooms. Though one time when I went up the long flight of stone steps to use the facilities a number of women had staged a takeover of the men's room. The Women's had one working and one broken stall, none with doors. The men's had two working stalls with doors and a trough style urinal. The women's line usually was at least 10 deep. I usually lined up anytime I thought I might have to go and didn't drink much. I think the takeover was staged because a number of beer filled younger women did not want to wait.

The Parades of Okeanos and Mid City were kid themed.

But even though the floats were kid centric and the children loved the throws. Throws are dangerous, though the injuries I incurred and saw happen to others were minor. I caught a large packaged throw containing a heavy medallion on the end of my thumb and broke the nail badly about 1/2 way down. I kept it wrapped in a handkerchief the rest of the day. I also jammed the fingers on my right hand and was hit a couple of times with full bags of beads I did not see coming as it got darker. I saw others complain of finger jams and saw a guy wiping blood from his face after a throw hit him in the forehead. Next to us a young woman was sitting down with her youngest who had fallen asleep when he was hit with a bag of beads.
The Thoth parade had much fancier floats with a theme of university departments after their Thoth Egyptian style floats. The floats were interspersed between bands and marching,dancing, or equestrian units.
There was supposed to be a few hours break between the morning parades and the evening parades, but the morning parades were delayed and took longer and stretched into dusk. We wound up grazing on shared bits of Serio food throughout the day. The night was cooler and I was already wary of the throws, so I had been spending more time resting down in Serio's. As a consequence, I missed the first float of Bacchus with their parade celebrity, Anderson Cooper. But Bill was there and made eye contact with Anderson and was tossed a plastic cup with Anderson Cooper's visage on it. He was pretty thrilled. The Bacchus floats with their main theme of honoring our armed forces were very impressive. They had a lot of vintage vehicles including a real Sherman Tank.

The only touch of irreverence I noted was in this float labeled The Greatest Generation which was covered with clowns. Did they mean to imply that The Greatest Generation were a pack of clowns?
Endymion's light filled floats were fabulous, but we were both weary and left at midnight. Our goal was to walk to an area where we could call a cab company that would take us to the KOA for a flat rate. But New Orleans was in total gridlock with the intersections filled and unmoving in all directions and of course everyone was honking. We walked and walked and successive policemen encouraged us to head to the Amtrak/Greyhound Station where we might find a cab. The station was closed and locked for the night. Will open at 5AM was posted on the front. We joined a few others stranded there and called for a cab. After 3 calls and 40 minutes a cab pulled up. A black woman immediately rushed up to it and claimed it even though she admitted that she had not called. So we said we were OK with sharing the cab and he could take her home first since she was nearby. So we drove on into the projects and dropped her where she wanted. The driver asked us if we were frightened to be driven into the projects and I said we were too old to be afraid and that it looked like the projects were all asleep anyway. I did say I wouldn't walk around in them. He said that you would never see those who would find you. He made it sound like a jungle and I guess in a sense it is, although we have been told that in renovating the project area New Orleans has tried to make it a more mixed housing and mixed income area. We arrived home exhausted after 2AM.
We slept in today and did little besides some house cleaning and laundry.

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