Krewe of Cork

Summer, at least Craig style, has hit New Orleans for Mardi Gras. it has been 80 and humid for the last several days, and I am glad that my sailing wardrobe works in this weather. After a big tattooing session on Thursday, I had a mellow evening sewing on my costume.

I walked through the Quarter to connect with Katie Leese, the artist who lived in Ketchikan for a couple of years before moving to New Orleans. She sells whimsical pieces featuring cartoony birds and inspirational text to folks on Jackson Square. We have mutual friends in the art crowd in Ketchikan, and it is good to connect with someone from home.

Friday two parades were rolling in the Quarter at once, Cork and Kanaval. Jill and Eileen from Touro Street were walking in Cork, so I decided to stalk them. I staged on Bourbon Street at Hole in the Wall with my big camera. The Krewe of Ponchatrain had rented out the restaurant upstairs, and beads were raining down. The Chalmette High School band marched up and stopped in front of the bar for half a dozen songs as the walking krewe passed by.

A woman on the street was advertising Nipple Glitter, and dozens of frat boys took advantage, and then a few bold women took off their tops and had pasties painted on. Within a few minutes, they had more beads than they could wear. This known as a mellow parade, and a kickoff of the first big Mardi Gras weekend, so I am anticipating some wild stuff as the week goes on.

The Krewe of Cork is wine themed, and the “good” beads have wine corks in them. I was photographing, and the “Lady of the Vineyard” approached me and said “It’s Mardi Gras, baby. You need some beads” as she draped them over my neck. I think she was probably right. They had a couple of good brass bands, with at least one Frenchmen Street regular-Miles-playing tuba. These are working musicians.

I walked from there to Touro Street to visit with Chris and Cecile, and then on to Buffa’s for a sandwich. Boon, the bartender, insisted that the music show was worth sticking around for, as it was an all-star collection of players, including a visiting player from Chicago. The 9 o’clock show was Joe Krown on the piano, Johnny Sasone on the guitar, and John Pohl on the blues harmonica. John Pohl played Chicago-style blues with great vocals. It was a good way to end the night, even if it ended a little later than I intended.

After a grocery store trip in the morning, I walked the Quarter Saturday, not venturing uptown for the bigger parades. I am still in search of the last few bits of costuming (trousers?) and found a great vintage jester hat for $5. The perfect topper for a glittery tuxedo. I talked with Trisha from Wisconsin at Harry’s Corner, also a snowbirder. She works events for fun, usually as a runner or expediter for the out of town talent. She suggested that it was fairly easy to get some of that gig work. It might be fun.

I went to Manolito’s, and had another excellent daiquiri. Andrea was tending bar, and she is one of the owners of the place. We had a nice discussion about New Orleans history, and Cuba’s place in it. She is interested more in mid-20th century stuff and knows a lot about the mob in New Orleans. A fun conversation and she comped me an expensive drink. The 12 seat bar had about half locals, including one of the bartenders from Tujagues. A good place.

The rain hit hard just as I was putting dinner together, so made a night of sewing on my costume. I finished the sewing, and now the search is on for trousers. The mystical Krewe of Barkus today!

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