New Orelans, LA — Sunday brought Baccus. It was neat to see James Gandolphini. I caught nothing from Drew Brees, but his arm looked solid (yes I know the injury was to his nonthrowing arm, but several people asked). After the parade I made my way down to the French Quarter. While trolling down Toulouse, I came across Neal and Sean outside of One Eyed Jack’s. Sean had a messenger back stocked full of adult beverages (and no, it was not at all cliche to be pulling from a bottle of Jack Daniels out on the street). But even better, he had the Sewage & Water Board beads which are by far the coolest throw I’ve ever seen. Ever. Bar none. Hands down. By far. The coolest. They really were awesome. We stumbled around for a while and made many new friends, or annoyed many strangers, it’s a fine line we were walking. This was the first time I had walked more than half a block on Bourbon St. It was crowded, but managable. You couldn’t run sprints up and down the promenade, but you could move without much impediment on the banquettes and in the street. After hitting Johnny White’s Sports Bar (finally ran into Peter and Ally) and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (where Chuck was working too hard to hang out), we headed down to the Marigny. Spent some time at R bar with other New Orleans comedic types before heading back into the French Quarter. A few stops and then an Alibi burger with Lindsey, then called it a night.
Lundi Gras and the buzz was building. I trolled down to Riverwalk and met up with Justin and his Westbank friends. After Zulu and Rex arrived and were handed the city, fireworks were shot off. I don’t get fireworks shows. They all look the same. I’ve seen dozens, if not hundreds of fireworks shows in my lifetime, and I can’t say I could really tell the difference between them. There’s a pop, they go out in a circular fashion and in varying colors. Repeat. After all of these decades, shouldn’t firework technolgy have advanced a bit? After the pyrotechnics, a band took the stage. They hit all the New Orleans classics: Carnival Time, Mardi Gras Mambo, Walking To New Orleans, Iko Iko, They All Ax’d For You, etc. We danced around like jacksasses anyway. We then left to catch the tail end of Orpheus. On the way, Justin busted out his phone and started playing Rebirth Brass Band’s cover of Casanova, then we really started dancing like jackasses. The Harrah’s parking garage became the site of my only public urination during Carnival. Not too bad I says. Since we were at Convention Center Blvd and Julia Street, some of the bands had stopped performing by the point. This was completely unsatisfactory to us. We would start chanting for the bands to play. After a few different phrases, we found the most effective effort was to chant the name of an insurment, and that tuba players seemed to respond to this type of chant most frequently. Therefor, much of the next few hours was spent repeatedly yelling “tuba, tuba, tuba” at confused high school kids. One of the girls in the group noticed some avaliable space and suggested we move to the “median.” We all made her the butt of many jookes for the remainder of the evening as we enjoyed the parade from the neutral ground (and everyone gave the own version of why it is called such). Orpheus was a damn good show, gotta give credit to Harry Connick, Jr for putting together a great krewe and a helluva parade. When the parade wrapped, well time to bounce around the French Quarter. I finally got to hang out with Peter. Shared a few beers at MRB and even talked to SteveO, who didn’t bother to let us know he was in town. And, I got to talk to Roger and hear some of his horror stories and remind me I was missing nothing from my former profession.
After getting in about 6:30 AM, I wasn’t too optimistic about making all of the Mardi Gras activties. When Erin and Lauren woke me up about 8:00 AM to ask if I was ready for Zulu, it took a few seconds to motivate myself awake. We then picked up Jodi and Kat and had our Mardi Gras crew together. The girls had written a cute little Mardi Gras song, but I cannot even come close to remembering it (other than it’s the only song not by Benny Grunch and the bunch that mentions Mardi Gras and peeing). Zulu was all it was supposed to be. Some quality floats, some good bands and some amazing dancers. We caught some pretty good throws, but I didn’t get anything I was looking for. Erin got a walnut and a coconut. My streak of catching nothing from Saints players continued as Joe Horn and Devry Henderson has nothing for me. As Rex kicked off, we began making our way up St Charles Ave. After taking in a bit of Rex (which honestly bores me to near tears), we decided it was food time. Erin and Lauren went to see about getting a table at Superior Grille (I didn’t like their chances). Sure enough, a few minutes later, they called and were already being seated. When we arrived, Lauren was quite proud of herself for thinking of going to the resturaunt and checking on seating. She said “I had an idea on Mardi Gras, and it was a good one.” After lunch and a few drinks it was time to head home. We saw what had the early ingredients of a violent race fueld gun battle, but were able to duck out to a side street and have no idea how it turned out. I listened to my body and went down for a nap. Later that night, I headed to the French Quarter, and even though it had held off for over a week, the rain began to fall. Not wanting to deal with the weather and the crowd, I just called it an early night.
Morning broke, Ash Wednesday had arrived. I enjoyed Carnival. I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones. With my first Mardi Gras as a civilian in the books, I look forward to adding many more.
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