IIt was a cool day to take a camera for a walk around the Quarter in the sunshine. I walked past Jackson Square to the CVS. A third or so of the people were in costume already, another third looked like they were working on one, and some folks just looked perplexed by the whole Halloween thing and were carrying on with their Thursday. I bought a coffee from a barista with a huge pink wig, every bit of three feet tall, and sat for a few minutes in front of the Cathedral. There was a magic show with recorded music and a large crowd, right in front of the church, but I was able to find a good spot between two fortune tellers.
A wedding procession came from the square into the plaza in front of the church, all dressed in skeleton outfits and playing music. The ceremony was short, and hard to distinguish from the programmed show, but the wedding party immediately broke into a second line headed through the plaza towards Bourbon Street. If your wedding didn’t include costumed skeletons playing brass instruments, I guess you just missed out. There were a couple of apparently professional pirates hanging out at the entrance to Pirates Alley, soliciting tips for photos with their elaborate costumes. I thought perhaps they were very good Halloween costumes until I saw them putting the arm on the tourist crowd.
I had a beer at Harry’s, and there was a presentation on the street in front of the Voodoo Authentica store and museum. The presenters were dressed in white, explaining the tenets of Voodoo, playing drums, chanting and dancing. The crowd was a mix of school kids in costume-zombies and superheroes, adults in various stages of costuming, and apparent Voodoo adherents singing along and participating in the dancing. Halloween and All Saints Day, or the Day of the Dead, are apparently the highest holidays in the Voodoo system, and the faithful were there to explain it.
I got dressed for Halloween, reprising the dark cape, deer bone vest, and a mask over dark clothes, and took a walk. I started at Tujague’s with an old fashioned with Melissa. A ghost tour was starting there at the time I got there, and there were 50 people milling about waiting for drinks poured out of a plastic jug-hurricanes, perhaps. As i walked out the bathroom with my hood pulled over the black mask, I startled a man who said “Jesus Christ” and dropped his drink. I’m guessing it was scary enough.
I wandered towards Molly’s and by now everyone was in costume. The band at the Checkpoint Charlies, The Bad Sandys, was a really good rockabilly band with a female lead singer and a guitarist playing the surf guitar sound. There was a woman out for Halloween just standing silently in a corner. She was bald with scarification ridges along her skull above her ears and pierced cheeks, through which she had attached elaborate jewelry, kind of a cross between a necklace and earrings. I’m guessing Halloween is her high holiday as well.
I walked Frenchmen Street and listened to the brass band for a few songs, and saw a mirrored percussion wagon being played by 8 or ten costumed musicians. It was on wheels, and they slowly pulled it along the street playing all sorts of drums, bells, cymbals and homemade stuff. I stopped for a short set from Meschiya Lake(I think-it is hard to tell with the costumes) at the Spotted Cat, surrounded by a group of 50ish Debbie Harrys who were a little put off by the scary costume-they were enjoying the role play of black tights, leather jackets, and blonde wigs. The R Bar was spilling over into the street as I passed on the way home. It looked like the night was just starting for some folks.