So a month ago I rode in the 2011 Krewe of Pygmalion Parade in New Orleans. In typical Thomas fashion, I didn't get around to writing and posting pictures until now. Better late than never, I guess. Anyway...
The wine-themed Krewe of Cork parades through the French Quarter. I had never been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras season before. I enjoyed the festive "vibe" the city possesses during this time of year; it really is a different place than it is during the summer or fall. The French Quarter is decorated for Mardi Gras like most communities would decorate for Christmas, with green, gold and purple flags, banners, bunting and ornaments everywhere. Here's one example of the elaborate Mardi Gras ornaments that adorn the historic buildings of the Quarter. Our parade followed behind the Krewe of Sparta parade. The morning of the parade, their floats were lined up along Julia Street in the Warehouse District as they made last-minute preparations for the evening. Our floats were lined up a few blocks away.
As we made our way from the Warehouse District to the parade's staging area, we began preparing by putting beads on hooks to make them easier to access and throw. Although I was surrounded by several large bags of beads, doubloons and other throws, I didn't know how quickly I would go through all of them and so when the parade started I was careful to ration my throws so that I wouldn't run out before the parade ended. However, by the time the parade reached downtown I realized I had many more beads than I could get rid of so I began furiously flinging handfuls of them to the crowds. I still had one big bag of beads left over by the time the parade ended.
Here I am, in costume and ready to go as we waited on Napoleon near Magazine for the parade to begin. In retrospect, hanging beads from my arms in preparation to throw them was not a good idea, as they got easily tangled. Students from the James M. Singleton Charter Middle School await the start of the parade. This school was one of several middle and high school marching bands that participated in the parade. I was really impressed with these kids' stamina - they marched, played and danced non-stop for the entire three-hour duration of the parade. Here's the entire "staff" of our float. Float Lieutenant Dave Ghisalbert, who recruited myself as well as several other folks to participate on his float, is on the far right.
Here are the crowds along St. Charles. Notice the stepladders with the seats atop them that the kids sat in. This is very common, are level the float which made it easy to toss beads and other throws (which, aside from beads, doubloons, blinking necklaces, plush toys for kids, moon pies and even Zapp's potato chips) across to them. The St. Charles portion of the route is very family-friendly, with lots of children and no women baring their, well, you know. Another view of the crowds on St. Charles. The guy in the brown shirt uses that net to catch beads and doubloons. The crowds along the downtown portion of the route, which goes up Canal Street and the back down to Tchapitoulas and ends at Poydras, were a bit rowdier and less family-oriented than the crowds along St. Charles.
Another parade crosses Bourbon Street early Sunday afternoon. I was pretty wiped out after my parade on Saturday, so I spent Sunday relaxing, recuperating and enjoying the festivities. I was originally supposed to travel to Dubai the following Monday, but that didn't happen.
All in all, it was a fun experience and I appreciate the opportunity to have participated. Dave sent us our applications for the 2012 parade last week. I am definitely going to do this again next year.