Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mardi Gras Part 1: Krewe of Endymion

Unfortunately, I haven't yet managed to develop the pictures we took on my birthday trip to Chicago or at the Krewe of Barkus Mardi Gras parade. Since my camera is sadly out of commission, RJ and I bought a disposable for the trip so we didn't have to rely on my phone alone. I will get around to printing those but in the meantime my next few posts are going to be a little out of order. I still haven't managed to morph into a person who remembers to take pictures everywhere she goes, but I do the best I can.

This was the first Mardi Gras since we moved to Mid-City and I have to say it was nice being away from the St. Charles parade route. Almost every parade in the city takes St. Charles which was convenient for fun but annoying when it came to going anywhere or getting anything done. Plus we had tourists EVERYWHERE: parked in the yard, peeing in the bushes etc. Yuck.

Mid-City is off the beaten Mardi Gras trail, with the giant exception of the Krewe of Endymion Parade. Endymion is the largest parade during Carnival and for the reason it takes a route down Canal St. with it's larger neutral ground (median). It runs on the Saturday before Mardi Gras Day and people often start camping out for spots along the route the night before. Since we live only a couple of blocks away, I started getting hints from friends and family a few weeks beforehand about how convenient it would be if they drop by and use our house/bathroom/beer cooler. So we dug the coolers and BBQ out of the shed and opened the house to all. People started arriving at 1:00 which gave us 5 hours before the start of the parade to secure some spots, get something to eat and get a good Abita beer buzz going :)

So a little history of Endymion for all you Canadians:

Endymion is one of three "super Krewes", called such because they have huge floats and even bigger crowds. Their official motto is "Throw until it hurts". I'm not kidding, it really is. Ironically I don't find their throws all that great--the number of people who end up pushing in front of you generally makes it tough to catch anything but cheap beads. Past Grand Marshals include Dolly Parton, John Goodman, Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, David Shwimmer and Emiril Lagasse to name a few. The parade ends with the annual Endymion Extravaganza, held at the Superdome because of the sheer size of Endymion's membership. When you include the invited guests, the event often involves over 14,000 people.

Sadly, I only really took pictures of the crowd assembling and then one single picture of the first float. The problem is, I kept having to shove my phone quickly in my pocket to get ready to catch beads before they came flying at my face from all sides. I quickly forgot the phone.

I like the row of men all lined up with their BBQs. Very New Orleans.

Crowd is slowly getting bigger.

The only float I managed to catch on camera :)