Mardi Gras - 2/2012    

The view from our spot along the New Orleans Uptown parade route, where Julia Street crosses St. Charles. This year the crowds were bigger and more tense than ever.

Statistics:

Dates: February 17-20, 2012;  8 parades, 3 cities

 

Areas Explored: Mississippi Delta, Southeast Louisiana

Transportation: 2009 Grand Caravan

New Frontiers: Our 3rd trip to Mardi Gras (in a row); first time seeing parades in Metairie

Cast: Scott, Jessica, Andrew

Parades: Baton Rouge Southdowns; Spanish Town New Orleans NOMTAC; Iris; Okeanos; Mid-City; Thoth Metairie Napoleon

 

Trip Notes: Day 1: Started at midnight and drove down US-61 to Baton Rouge in time for the Southdowns parade. Day 2: Under threat of a tornado warning, waited out the storms, and then enjoyed Spanish Town. Day 3: Saw parades all day long in Uptown Nola before heading up to Metairie. Day 4: Carefully drove home via I-55 & I-57.

 

Click to see Mardi Gras 2011 or 2013!


See and hear Louisiana Mardi Gras '12!
 
 
Andrew is not so sure about his "Palm Tree" hat, as he called it. (right)


Vendredi & Samedi Gras in Baton Rouge

Southdowns
I like this suburbanish neighborhood in southeastern Baton Rouge. The parade is quite an event. Neighbors line up on the street and hold picnics in their driveways. The parade is a great light show and good for the family. Just watch for stinging ants on the lawns.

Spanish Town
A wild, rough parade with krewes made up of mostly local bars. The parade takes a stab at political satire fitting for the state capital. The route ends in the historic neighborhood, which keeps the party going all night.


 
Dimanche Gras in New Orleans 

NOMTOC
NOMTOC stands for "New Orleans' Most Talked Of Club." An Algiers-based social and philanthropic club called Jugs holds this great parade, which features an all-Black krewe. They had to move dates and routes in 2012 due to storms.

Iris
Iris also had to move dates due to storms. This all-female krewe, which is almost a century old, was very energetic and generous with the crowds.


Okeanos
Okeanos is a very democratic krewe, created in 1949. They are well known for their elaborate ball. They roll some very creative floats every year with recurring characters.


Mid-City
Mid-City always rolls very beautiful foil covered floats. Its members are always dressed in formal wear and, although this parade is short, it is quite a spectacle. A great part of this parade is the "Battle of the Bands", in which local bands are paraded down the street in competition.


Thoth
This krewe is large and raucous, especially in comparison to the other krewes that roll on the same day. They have fans from all over thanks to their work for sick children and other charity work. They parade by hospitals to bring the joys of Mardi Gras to the infirm. We have seen them for three years now and every year we have to watch our heads because it rains beads when they roll by.
The queen of NOMTOC Kristen St. Martin looks a bit like a flamingo here.The queen of NOMTOC Kristen St. Martin looks a bit like a flamingo here. Nola residents are prepared and everyone has a ladder ready for the parade.Nola residents are prepared and everyone has a ladder ready for the parade. It didn't take long for Andrew to amass a collection of toys.It didn't take long for Andrew to amass a collection of toys. The NOMTOC parade moved from its usual location in Algiers thanks to the storms.The NOMTOC parade moved from its usual location in Algiers thanks to the storms. A Velasquez inspired photograph on St. Charles St.A Velasquez inspired photograph on St. Charles St. NOMTOC's parade had a horror movie theme this year.NOMTOC's parade had a horror movie theme this year. The Hunchback of Notre Dame float in NOMTOC.The Hunchback of Notre Dame float in NOMTOC. There are many methods to catching beads and throws.There are many methods to catching beads and throws. A great one: NOMTOC's The Raven float.A great one: NOMTOC's The Raven float. In between floats seemed to be every high school marching band in Louisiana.In between floats seemed to be every high school marching band in Louisiana. NOMTOC parade riders seemed to enjoy the new route and day.NOMTOC parade riders seemed to enjoy the new route and day. At one time, Nola made it illegal for parade participants NOT to wear masks.At one time, Nola made it illegal for parade participants NOT to wear masks. Parades also used to be segregated, which is why NOMTOC is an all-Black krewe.Parades also used to be segregated, which is why NOMTOC is an all-Black krewe. Generally you should not put things in your mouth on the parade route, but...Generally you should not put things in your mouth on the parade route, but... Carnival beast. He danced around, cracking this whip.Carnival beast. He danced around, cracking this whip. The king of the all-female Krewe of Iris always rides in a convertable.The king of the all-female Krewe of Iris always rides in a convertable. Iris participants seemed energized by the fact their parade date had been moved.Iris participants seemed energized by the fact their parade date had been moved. A royal participant in the Iris parade.A royal participant in the Iris parade. Someone seems to have had a bit too much to drink.Someone seems to have had a bit too much to drink. This one got me in the mood for a Big Mac, but I settled for a moon pie.This one got me in the mood for a Big Mac, but I settled for a moon pie. Jessica is offered a pretty big clump of beads. We still have some if you need any.Jessica is offered a pretty big clump of beads. We still have some if you need any. Iris got a lot of attention from our neighbors on the route, fans of Thoth, for this float.Iris got a lot of attention from our neighbors on the route, fans of Thoth, for this float. The day we stood here tensions were high as crowds swelled on the street.The day we stood here tensions were high as crowds swelled on the street. Another iris float unloads on the Nola residents who cordoned off sections of the sidewalk.Another iris float unloads on the Nola residents who cordoned off sections of the sidewalk. Beads hanging from a treee across the street.Beads hanging from a treee across the street. The masked royal of the Okeanos parade.The masked royal of the Okeanos parade. The king of Okeanos is selected among Okeanos members via lottery.The king of Okeanos is selected among Okeanos members via lottery. Okeanos particpants aim for people on the roofs above us.Okeanos particpants aim for people on the roofs above us. A bunch of marching girls hope that the parade gets moving soon.A bunch of marching girls hope that the parade gets moving soon. St. Charles Street chaos.St. Charles Street chaos. A float that shows off Okeanos' marine theme.A float that shows off Okeanos' marine theme. The Prime Time Brass Band plays some Nola tunes.The Prime Time Brass Band plays some Nola tunes. Andrew's waiting for the next float in his front row seat, thanks to our generous neighbors.Andrew's waiting for the next float in his front row seat, thanks to our generous neighbors. This one had me thinking about that it might be snowing at home.This one had me thinking about that it might be snowing at home. Too loud! Thanks to Iris for throwing Andrew a  dozen commemorative cups.Too loud! Thanks to Iris for throwing Andrew a dozen commemorative cups. This street is usually a wasteland of warehouses and abandoned buildings.This street is usually a wasteland of warehouses and abandoned buildings. Waiting for the next krewe to roll.Waiting for the next krewe to roll. Another marching band announces the arrival of the foil-clad Mid-City krewe.Another marching band announces the arrival of the foil-clad Mid-City krewe. The queen of Mid-City and her attendants.The queen of Mid-City and her attendants. Nola brass bands got a ride in the Mid-City parade.Nola brass bands got a ride in the Mid-City parade. Mid-City's floats are very photogenic due to the foil.Mid-City's floats are very photogenic due to the foil. Mid-City float foil, colorful in the sun.Mid-City float foil, colorful in the sun. A huge Mid-City float serving the crowd with bags of chips and beads.A huge Mid-City float serving the crowd with bags of chips and beads. Between parades the street is opened to the crowd, also fun to watch.Between parades the street is opened to the crowd, also fun to watch. Andrew is wondering if it is possible that a fifth parade could possibly roll.Andrew is wondering if it is possible that a fifth parade could possibly roll. One of the empty building frontages. These places are shells of what they were.One of the empty building frontages. These places are shells of what they were. Here comes the Krewe of Thoth!Here comes the Krewe of Thoth! The king of the Thoth parade, one of the more wild parades in Nola.The king of the Thoth parade, one of the more wild parades in Nola. By now, all ideas about saving space has been lost as the crowd pushes in.By now, all ideas about saving space has been lost as the crowd pushes in. The Thoth queen. Thoth donates a lot of money to sick children.The Thoth queen. Thoth donates a lot of money to sick children. Thoth usually has an Egyptian theme.Thoth usually has an Egyptian theme. A very tall parade marcher!A very tall parade marcher! Some Nola Indians enjoying the parade.Some Nola Indians enjoying the parade. Preparing the body for the afterlife.Preparing the body for the afterlife. When Thoth rolls, the sky rains beads usually. Watch your head!When Thoth rolls, the sky rains beads usually. Watch your head! Another shot of the Thoth parade.Another shot of the Thoth parade. Marching with the tomb of some paper mache pharoah.Marching with the tomb of some paper mache pharoah. Thoth is one of the longer Nola parades. I have yet to see the end of it.Thoth is one of the longer Nola parades. I have yet to see the end of it. A sheriff's deputy atop her horse.A sheriff's deputy atop her horse. I like how Uncle Sam seems so threatening on this float with the rockets and all.I like how Uncle Sam seems so threatening on this float with the rockets and all. Guys driving tractors drag each and every float down the route.Guys driving tractors drag each and every float down the route. Fishing nets meet a fishing float.Fishing nets meet a fishing float. Here comes the calvary!Here comes the calvary! It is not common knowledge, but Nola is no stranger to NASA.It is not common knowledge, but Nola is no stranger to NASA. My favorite reptile in my favorite parade.My favorite reptile in my favorite parade.
 


Dimanche & Lundi Gras in Metairie 

Napoleon 
This Metairie krewe uses light well and tried to honor Louisiana's French heritage. It was cool for a stupid fan like me to see Swamp people's Troy Landry in the parade this year.
 
 


Photos copyright 2012 by S. Plencner or J. Bezold All other content copyright 2012 by S. Plencner