Friday, February 17, 2012

Muses sets the stage

I spent the first half of the Muses Parade in tears. When I heard the first drum rolls, I took off in a run to get to the head of the parade. I can't think of anything more thrilling than the sound of a marching band. The city's best high school bands marched at the front of the parade - St. Aug's 'Marching 100s', O Perry Walker, G.W. Carver, Xavier Prep and others. They looked so proud in their feathered hats and capes. Boom, boom! the big bass drum bellowed.

Many of the musicians did kicks and jumps (not the tuba players) as well as marching steps. I wondered if that routine would last the length of the parade. At the start, they all seemed so excited to perform.

The majorettes and twirlers were focused and alert. How many hours had they spent practicing routines in preparation for this big night? How exciting for them and for us to see our youth looking so proud and hopeful.

Then came the Muses. You would not have seen this parade 30 years ago when women stood at the sidelines unless they were queens or a member of the court. This is the ladies' parade with a satirically female theme.
Women pony up lots of money to stand on top of a float wearing a green wig with a Chinese takeout carton on it, throwing beads to complete strangers. It's so totally fun and impossible to explain why.

Men are not excluded. They're holding back the crowds, holding up the flags and driving the tractors that pull the floats. We've still got flambeau carriers, though safer ones than in years past.

An Elvi, rolling
Dance group after dance group. New Orleans is a small town, but the performers keep coming - the Rolling Elvi (Elvises on scooters), Priscillas, the 610 Stompers, NOLA Cherry Bombs, Noisician Coalition, Big Easy Rollergirls, Bearded Oysters, Lady Godivas and the Panorama Jazz Band, were just a few. I love to see everyone expressing themselves in such creative, uninhibited ways!

I'm missing the parades tonight because I've got stuff to do and know there'll be ample opportunity to see more in the next few days. The city's practically shut down.
A parade watcher having a smoke.

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