Mardi Gras Redux Wednesday, Feb 13 2013 

In spite of my obsession with New Orleans, I have never made it Mardi Gras. A couple of years ago, I got there four days after the fact, but folks Uptown were still ready for the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s not the drunkenness or debauchery or “Girl’s Gone Wild” atmospherics that I miss; it is the cultural and social affects that I miss. The Zulus, the Mardi Gras Indians, the dogs in the Barkas Parade, and the neighborhood-centric goofiness of the St. Anne’s Parade. These are the things I long to see. And thankfully, nola.com provides me with photos and video to give me a glimpse into what those there are experiencing.

Mardi Gras Indian, February 2013.

Mardi Gras Indian, February 2013.

One of the things I used to put me in the spirit was the Times-Picayune’s JacksonSquareCam. Right now it probably shows people milling about and getting their palms read in the plaza between the Cathedral and Jackson Square, but during Mardi Gras it was abuzz with costumed revelers. And even from the distance of the camera, some appeared threatening and many of the rest, just plain weird and/or scary.

However, many of the photos and videos put on display by the Times-Picayune really capture the history and culture represented by Mardi Gras. And yeah, people are still having fun. Among my favorites, i.e. the ones that help me experience the celebration from afar:

The Skull and Bones Gangs — For some reason, these guys terrify me; however, there is a beautiful photo collection of the Northside Skull & Bone Gang waking up Treme on Mardi Gras day.

The Mardi Gras Indians processing in Treme under the I-10 overpass. I’ve seen it on St. Joseph’s Night, but not during Mardi Gras. One day. Here are photos and a video.

One of the things I’d most want to experience is thew history and tradition of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, 104 years old and going strong.

The Mardi Gras Day reopening of Ernie K-Doe’s Mother-in-Law Lounge by Kermit Ruffins.

To witness the neighborhood spectacle that is the St. Anne Parade that stumbles through the Marigny.

OK, I have to finally admit it. I have found a krewe that surpasses the 610 Stompers: the Laissez Boys Social and Leisure Club.

And, finally the ceremonial NOPD sweep of Bourbon Street at midnight after Mardi Gras.

I love it from afar, but one day I will actually experience it.

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Upcoming Events in New Orleans Friday, Jan 30 2009 

new-orleans-341I was walking in this morning, cold, the sound of ice crunching as I walked. But, I was heartended by the fact that days are getting longer and…six weeks from today, exactly, we’ll be heading to New Orleans!

I checked the Times-Picayune online to see what’s going on in the Crescent City and found the schedule of events for the many festivals that will be going on when we are there. The biggest news: rumor has it that the Mardi Gras Indians will process on Sunday, March 15th, rather than a week later, as I had feared. Keep in mind, things with the Indians are always tentative and subject to their schedule, but this is a hopeful sign. Keep your fingers crossed!

There is a complete list of events, but highlights include: Saturday, March 14th, Italian-American St. Joseph’s Day parade, 6:00 p.m., French Quarter; Sunday, March 15, Mardi Gras Indian’s Super Sunday, around 1:00 p.m. (I’m still a little leary of this, though.); and the Tuesday, March 17th, the Downtown Irish Club Parade, 6:30 p.m., Bywater/French Quarter. This starts outside of the French Quarter and participants stop frequently for “refreshments,” so it takes a while for it to hit Bourbon Street. In addition, Thursday, March 19th is St. Joseph’s Day and there will be altars set up throughout the city. For the parade listing, see: http://blog.nola.com/festivals/2008/02/st_patricks_day_events_for_200.html

Finally, as the nation celebrates Abrahm Lincoln’s bicentennial (February 12th, to be exact), New Orleans is celebrating the centennial of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club. The Louisiana State Museum (housed in the Cabildo and Presbytere) has opened a year-long exhibit: “From Tramps to Kings: 100 Years of Zulu.” The $6.00 admission will get you into other exhibits, as well, including their permanent Carnival exhibit, “Mardi Gras in Louisiana.” For the website on the exhibit, see: http://lsm.crt.state.la.us/zulu/