Sunday, February 20, 2011

'25 Years Wasted' sets the tone

Carnival has begun! And the most fun parade, in my humble opinion, happened last night.

The past couple of years, Krewe du Vieux (not View or Voo as many pronounce, but French for "old" as in Vieux Carre, translation: Old Quarter aka French Quarter) Whew! and that rhymes with vieux.

This is a walking parade of crazy, Marigny/Bywater residents who march down Royal across Toulouse and up Decatur Streets at a leisurely pace at the start of Carnival season. This year, the satirical theme was "25 Years Wasted," which highlighted Wall Street, Sarah Palin, BP, our very own waste collection service and a number of other trashy topics. The King was Don Marshall, Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation executive director.

Marching spermes
Seventeen sub-krewes interpreting the Wasted concept in their own rite included: Krew of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of Space Age Love, Krewe of Underwear, Seeds of Decline, Krewe of Mama Roux, Krewe of L.E.W.D., Krewe of Drips and Discharges, Krewe of K.A.O.S., Knights of Mondo, T.O.K.I.N., Krewe Rue Bourbon, Krewe of C.R.A.P.S., Krewe of PAN, Mystic Krewe of Spearms, Mystic Krewe of Comatose, Mystic Krewe of Inane and Krewe du Mishigas.

After driving miles, searching for a legal parking spot, I finally ended up in front of the Baptist Missionary Church in the Treme. A bit out of my realm, I was fortunately among many other parade-goers tromping back toward the French Quarter route. I enjoyed a beverage with friends who own a house on Bourbon Street, but quickly leapt into action when I heard the first trumpets blare.

When I couldn't get close enough to document the parade photographically, I jaunted over to Decatur to patiently await the parade's return. It was explained to me by a fellow wearing an Afro wig and flowered blazer - a 70's costume I presume - that marchers were moving more slowly this year because the weather was more accommodating.

I stood with a couple of bewildered Japanese tourists who were unsure what to expect. The tourist bureau had told them this particular parade was unauthorized. I explained as best I could. Also with us was a conventioneer from Connecticut with a video camera. When the first batch of skateboarders went buy, he said, "Is that the parade"? No, I said. There won't be any doubt in your mind when the parade actually arrives.

A charming Tulane law student joined our group. She said the costumes were reminiscent of Steampunk. Huh? She'd had had a date with somebody who was into Steampunk, which incorporates 19th century fashions and futuristic technology into an alternate sci-fi reality.

I'll let the pictures say the rest.

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