Walking Carnival Parades

The National Geographic article I was interviewed for in August was published on line this weekend. They used one of the photographs of me as their lead photo, and quoted me as much as anyone else in the article. They made me look good in both the photo and the quotes, as when you are on the record for six or eight hours you are bound to say something stupid. I’m not sure if it is just an online thing or if the article will be in the print magazine. I think of Sam Gray being featured in his youth in National Geographic for his epic raft trip, and reflect that it is fun to be one of the interesting people. And I didn’t even have to show them my tribal markings.


It was the first multi-parade weekend of the season, with walking parades through the Marigny and lower Quarter kicking it off. Friday it was Krewe Boheme rolling down Royal from the Bywater into the Quarter. Krewe Boheme is a new Krewe, in its second year, and is themed around absinthe and the 1920s decadence. Tank of Tank and the Bangas was in the lead float. I stopped by the R bar early, dressed in green with a green fedora in honor of the absinthe theme, and received a couple of generous pours which set the rather out of control tone for the evening. Michael Imperioli, a TV actor, was on the street at the R bar attracting fans. Jill was hosting an open house, so I busted over to the Touro Street side. There were fabulous dancers and gymnasts on some of the floats, and good music.

Krewe du Vieux and Krewe de Illusion were on Saturday night with the Touro Street irregulars holding parties at four houses on the street. I brought my camera out for this one, and got some interesting shots in the challenging light. I dressed in tie dye from POW and a jester hat with bells, fulfilling the New Orleans doctrine to be part of the show, and encouraged others the dress up. There were some good looks from the spectators as well as the participants. I love these walking parades because the lines are blurred-everyone is having a good time, many people are in some degree of costume, and it is all about the experience for the evening. Cecile was a featured part of Krewe du Vieux, and was in serious costume as one of the handmaidens to the Queen. I missed her float in the craziness, but saw her later at the after party at her house.

Sunday was one of my favorite parades, ‘tit Rex, which features shoebox size floats towed and escorted by people in formal wear and rolls through the narrow streets of the Marigny, this year with four excellent marching bands. The headline band was Panorama who were playing brass band music with clarinet solos(?) and making it work. There was a mostly female band featuring an accordion as well. The parade moves slowly, and is notable for attracting families with small kids. They are fascinated by the toy-size floats and the music, and unusually for this era of paranoia are encouraged to interact with strangers also fascinated by the floats and music. It also kicks off in the late afternoon, making photography more fun.

I followed the parade to Mimi’s and then took my camera home to download pictures. I went to Three Muses to hear a little music from Raphael et Pascale, just a couple of songs at the end of their set, and the Clementines, playing virtuoso music of the 1920s. I tried perhaps my new favorite drink, the Goth Girlfriend, which is on the menu as dark Basil Hayden rye, stone fruit, and aromatics, served neat with an orange peel. Pretty vague, but I may have to go back when the bartender is not to busy and get a class. Sunday was the Rock and Roll Marathon, so the crowd on Frenchmen was a little different than the usual cruise ship crowd, a little younger and the mean BMI on the street dropped 5 points overnight.

Monday the temperatures were up in the high 70s and it was humid. After a walk to the Rouse’s in the Quarter for ingredients, I stopped at Mollie’s for a Guinness and a chat with Boog, and then home to cook some pasta and red gravy with sausage, squash, and peppers. As I was working on this rather elaborate meal for one guy with the door open because the kitchen was getting warm, I heard brass band music from the street. I went out to the front of the building to see the Roots of Music brass band on the street. They are elementary and middle school kids from the 7th and 9th wards who practice year round after school with professional musicians and teachers and who parade in a couple of the Mardi Gras parades. This was their dress rehearsal, and fun to see and hear.

It stayed hot without a rainstorm overnight, and I walked to the pool past Buffa’s which was being converted into a movie or TV set. Both my neighborhood bars, Buffa’s and the R bar, are used as sets for at least NCIS New Orleans, and probably other feature films. I just like living here.

Lots more photos at https://bobclaus.myportfolio.com/work

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