Category Archives: Mardi Gras

Book Review: My Father When Young

This Tisserand tome was my birthday present from Dr. A. Thanks, babe.

Michael Tisserand is the author of The Kingdom Of Zydeco, Sugarcane Alley, and Krazy: George Herriman In Black and White as well as a charter member of the NOLA Twitter Pun Community. He’s better known at First Draft as the Parade Route Book Signer. I might as well share the historic Twitter exchange:

Sometimes Twitter can be fun.

Michael’s latest book is a collaboration with his late father Jerry Tisserand. An alternate title for My Father When Young could be What I Did During The Lockdown.

After his father’s funeral in 2008, Michael brought a bunch of boxes home to New Orleans, which he didn’t open until the pandemic. One box contained a treasure trove of slides:

“I pulled a few slides at random and held them to the light. Then a few more. At first, I didn’t understand what I was seeing. Then I realized: the photos had been taken by someone I never knew—my father when young.”

Michael had no idea that Jerry’s hobby had been photography. Tisserand the Elder stopped snapping pictures when he became a family man. Not only was Jerry a photography buff, he had an uncanny eye for a compelling image.

I recall when Michael first started posting his father’s pictures on his Facebook feed. I believe my initial reaction was: Damn, these are good. Others encouraged him to do something special with his father’s treasure trove. A book was born.

The most startling revelation to the son was that the father had visited New Orleans during Carnival 1959. Jerry’s pictures of the French Quarter on that long ago Mardi Gras day document a lost world. He also inadvertently stumbled into members of one of the first gay carnival krewes, Yuga. Jerry’s pictures of gay Mardi Gras don’t judge, they document. That’s the essence of good street photography.

The book is divided into three parts. The first, Taking Leave features pictures taken when Jerry was in the Army and stationed in Europe. My favorite European snapshot was taken in Barcelona and is called Children and Pigeons. Its centerpiece is a toddler dressed in a white church dress. I hate pigeons but I love this picture.

The second part of My Father When Young documents Jerry Tisserand’s return home to Evansville Indiana, which he called E-Town. I have conjoined favorites: pictures called Lighter and Smoke. They depict some Hoosier ladies lighting up cigars. I’m not a fan of cigar smoke but I am a fan of these images. They remind me of this Cole Porter song:

Anything Goes fits the third part of My Father When Young as well. I mentioned Jerry Tisserand’s Mardi Gras trip earlier. It’s the grand finale of the book in a segment named for a Professor Longhair song: Go To The Mardi Gras.

My favorite Mardi Gras photo is called Searching For A Zulu Coconut. In part, because it shows how much smaller Zulu’s floats were in 1959. The guy begging for what remains Zulu’s signature throw isn’t stretching or jumping, he’s hoping to be handed a prized coconut. I like smaller-scale Carnival. It’s one reason I’m in Krewe du Vieux.

My Father When Young is a work of love. Michael’s introduction tells the story of the father he knew and the gifted photographer he discovered. That makes Michael a lucky man. I’ve had friends who learned less salubrious things when they went through their parents’ possessions. Instead, Michael learned that, for a brief moment, his father was the Robert Frank of E-Town.

I mentioned that My Father When Young was a birthday present from Dr. A. That led to another exchange with the author:

He also threatened to make me recreate the book cover when it’s re-autographed. I couldn’t do a headstand when I was young and thin let alone now. Never gonna happen, my friend.

It’s time to grade Michael’s lockdown homework. I give My Father When Young 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A. Well done, sir.

You’re probably expecting the last word to go to Ringo Starr with George Harrison’s Photograph. I like to keep my readers off balance, so the last word goes to Gary Louris with the opening track of his new album, Jump For Joy. Its alternate title could be: What I Did During The Lockdown. Well done, sir.

Ashen Wednesday

The weirdest and coldest Mardi Gras Day of my lifetime ended with a whimper not a bang. There were rolling power outages in New Orleans last night, but we were spared. We seem to have good power karma: as you may recall, we didn’t lose power during Hurricane Zeta. Perhaps the whole Greek alphabet thing worked in my favor or the ghost of Maybe Cousin Telly has some pull with the power gods. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

There was a minor icepocalypse this morning on the elevated highways in downtown New Orleans. We only had a mild freeze last night, but my people don’t know how to drive on ice and neither do I. It was that kind of morning in the Big Freezy. We are not ice people but we’re competent during hurricane season. I dare people in Frostbite Falls Minnesota to handle our summer climate.

It was too cold for me yesterday but Dr. A went out for a few hours to check out house floats and such. She brought me home a Moon Pie from our friends Bob and Julie’s joint. They did not float their house, but they had a beloved parade throw to pass out. Moon Pies are usually part of our Carnival diet then we don’t eat them for another year. I wish I could say that I gave them up for lent but that would be a fib. My motto is neither a lenter nor borrower be…

I should compensate for that groaner with some music from the North Country:

There’s a genuine winter apocalypse happening down Texas way. Their privatized electrical grid has had a meltdown leading to widespread outages throughout the Lone Star state. I don’t approve of those on social media who say that Texas had it coming. I’m with President Biden who declared miles and miles of Texas a disaster area. I know what it’s like to be neglected by national politicians. It happened to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. National disasters shouldn’t be wished on anyone even if Greg Abbot is one of the Trumpiest Trumpers out there.

A brief musical interlude before our next segment:

In any crisis, Republican politicians have gotta lie. Some Texas pols are blaming their problems on windmills. What is it with windmills and wingnuts? Windmills are harmless. The Dutch have been using them for centuries. Who’s more harmless than the Dutch or Dusty Springfield for that matter?

In other lying GOPers news, the stupidest man in the United States senate, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, is spinning fractured fairy tales about the Dipshit Insurrection:

But Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Monday argued that it’s wrong to describe the group as “armed” and accused Democrats of “selectively” editing videos to exaggerate the threat posed by a mob that came within feet of Vice President Mike Pence and other elected officials.

“This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,” Johnson said on WISN. “When you hear the word ‘armed,’ don’t you think of firearms? Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask: How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired?”

Johnson added, “If that was a planned armed insurrection, man, you had really a bunch of idiots.”

It takes one to know one, Senator. That’s why I call it the Dipshit Insurrection.

That’s it for this random and discursive potpourri post. The last word goes to John Lee Hooker with some blues for an ashen Wednesday:

Happy Mardi Gras

It’s been the weirdest Carnival ever. It’s been cancelled for war and police strikes but never because of disease; hopefully for the first and last time.

As much as I hate overuse of the R-word, New Orleanians are resilient people. We survived Katrina and the Federal Flood; we can survive the pandemic. We may be down but we’re never out.

In response to parade cancellations, a new phenomenon has spread across the metro area, house floats. That’s right, some enterprising locals have transformed their houses into floats. Some are simple, others are elaborate. Some are homemade, others were done by local artists thrown out of work because of the pandemic. Many New Orleans artists make their living from Jazz Fest and Carnival. Some have turned to house floating if that’s the right word. Beats the hell outta house painting.

The featured image comes from a house on State Street Uptown. It’s a take on the Seurat masterpiece Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte. It features local Carnival characters instead of long dead French people.

I’ve been sidelined with a recurring malady but Dr. A has been out and about looking at the house floats. The picture at the top is hers.

While I want Carnival to return to normal next year, I hope house float mania was not just a one-year craze. It took Carnival off the parade route and into the neighborhoods. Let’s do it again.

Augmenting the weirdness, it’s going to be the coldest Mardi Gras day since 1989. I hate the cold, so I plan to hunker down and wait for warmer weather. Claire Trevor is happy because the space heater will be roaring. So it goes.

The last word goes to Dr. John with a Mardi Gras Indian anthem:

Wait Until Next Year.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Trick Bag

Skeletons Fighting Over A Pickled Herring by James Ensor.

This should be Carnival’s biggest weekend. I’ll miss our pre-Tucks peregrinations on Saturday and company on Thoth Sunday. Wait until next year.

The impeachment trial ate my week, so I’ll keep this short. It’s what usually happens the Saturday before Fat Tuesday in any event. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written by NOLA’s own Earl King in 1962. It’s tricky, it’s baggy, it’s early, it’s kingy.

We have four versions of Trick Bag for your listening pleasure: the Earl King original, the Meters, Johnny Winter, and Robert Palmer.

Now that we’ve pulled some tricks out of the bag, let’s jump to the break.

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Tweet Of The Day: White Flag Edition

I’m late to this because I was busy covering Pardonpalooza and the Inauguration. The Tweet in question was posted on Tuesday but I don’t see a sell-by date on it, do you?

It comes from Gambit Editor John Stanton who has yet to change his handle to @nolabigjohn, which is the only bad thing I have to say about him.

In repose they do indeed resemble what I prefer to call a Klan gown. I know they’re called robes, but they look like a graduation gown’s evil twin. They also resemble the robes worn by old line New Orleans Carnival krewes. It’s probably best that Krewe D’Etat, which dispenses right-wing satire and is ruled over by a dictator is in mothballs this year along with the rest of the krewes. That way we’re spared an election fraud float.

The flag display looked less Ku Klux-like when the wind picked up but there was still a major problem: the flag color.

White flags? Really? The city of New Orleans honored our COVID dead with the international symbol of surrender. Holy misplaced symbolism, Batman.

Repeat after me: NO WHITE FLAGS.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell is an odd political figure. She ran an excellent campaign complete with a great communications strategy. As Mayor, her comms operation has been oddly inept. The white flag display is not their first mistake and is unlikely to be their last.

Lucky for Cantrell, the last incumbent mayor to lose re-election was Robert Maestri way back in 1946. Mayor Maestri is best remembered for accompanying FDR to Antoine’s and saying, “How ya like dem ersters, Mr. President?”

Political trivia doesn’t get more trivial than that.

The last word goes to Bruce Springsteen with a song that John Kerry used as his campaign theme song in 2004:

Repeat after me: NO WHITE FLAGS.

This Is Some Serious Shit

If it’s Monday, it’s time for another Panic In The Streets image. I’m not sure if Pandemic Chronicles will become a thing, BUT the image of Paul Douglas’ cop character trying to shake some sense into one of Jack Palance’s criminal cronies fits my mood today.

I find the dialogue in the country increasingly worrisome. Initially, I was among those who thought we’d go back to a modified version of Gamaliel’s normalcy when lockdown restrictions were eased. That was wishful thinking and whistling past the graveyard. I am a self-confessed optimist, after all. Better stir crazy than dead. And it’s a slow painful death.

The world right now is like a snow globe or kaleidoscope that’s been shaken thereby producing a new and much messier place. In many ways, it will resemble the old world, but the underlying reality will be very different.

Thanks to the slow and incompetent reaction of the corrupt nitwits in charge of our federal government, we’re facing the worst economy since the Great Depression. I guess that makes Trump Herbert Hoover with bad hair. It took a World War to finally end that depression. God only knows what will do the trick this time around but it won’t be jeremiads against China, immigrants, or the MSM.

It’s time to return to the pre-Reagan counter-revolution federal government: higher tax rates on the 1% and massive federal programs to put people back to work. We used to have a strong social safety net and many employers who gave a shit about their employees. It will be easier to rebuild the former than the latter. It’s time for the era of big government to return.

I’m also alarmed by the people on my side of the fence who blithely believe that the cavalry, in the form of a vaccine, will ride in to save the day in the last reel of the movie. It’s going to take more than a year regardless of how much money Bill Gates throws at it. COVID-19 is analogous to HIV and there’s still not a vaccine that prevents that plague. We’re in for the long haul. It will take 18 months to 2 years for this to happen; even then it may not be as comprehensive as one would hope. This virus morphs like crazy, which is why it’s so hard to nail down the symptoms.

The event cancellations have only just begun. I got a kick out of Saints fans debating the merits of the team signing accused rapist and shoplifter Jameis Winston to backup Drew Brees. No point in getting outraged when the NFL season may be another casualty of the plague. I hope I’m wrong about this but the only way the season can safely progress is to play in empty stadia and to isolate the players from their families. I’m not sure if the players will want to perfect the gladiator analogy by going along with such a plan. They love their families too. The alternative is for the NFL to stock up on body bags.

As a member of the New Orleans Carnival community, I’m worried that the 2021 season might be cancelled. The odds became 60-40 in favor of cancellation after Germany cancelled Oktoberfest, which is just as culturally important to them as Carnival is to us. And they have a competent federal government; something we are sadly lacking.

Unless there’s an effective vaccine, holding Carnival as usual is asking for trouble. It would be a crying shame but another spike in Coronavirus deaths is the possible alternative. Talk about a lose-lose situation.

We’re having the wrong discussion in this country right now. It’s not a choice between the economy and public health, we should be debating how to contain the pandemic with the fewest casualties possible. Americans are impatient and not good at focusing on the big picture. That needs to change but it won’t as long as the GOP controls the Senate and White House. It’s time for them to go.

That concludes this rare edition of Apocalypse Adrastos. I hope I’m wrong about most of this stuff, but the country is suffering from a surfeit of magical thinking, so some pessimism is in order.

Repeat after me: This is some serious shit.

The last word goes to Old 97’s from the Graveyard Whistling album:

Bayou Brief: The Cursed Carnival?

It was a rough Carnival season. That’s why it’s the subject of my latest column for the Bayou Brief. It has fewer jokes than usual but it was a deadly serious season.

Let’s close on a lighter with the original version of my favorite Mardi Gras song:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Carnival

I’m deep in the Carnival bubble, which is a wondrous albeit crowded place to be. We’ve had big company and small company. It’s been fun but as always I’ll be glad when it’s over. I’m so pooped that I’m repeating last week’s featured image.

There was a parade-related accident at the corner where I’ve been watching parades for the last 20 years. A parade-goer was run over by a float in the Nyx parade near the corner of Magazine and Valence. It was fatal, alas.  I’ll have more about that and other Carnival related issues in next week’s 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm for The Band’s 1971 Cahoots album. The horns were arranged by New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint.

We have three versions of Life Is A Carnival for your listening pleasure: the studio original, a 1995 teevee appearance by The Band, and a cover by Norah Jones, which is new to me

Lest you think I’ve strayed too far from New Orleans Carnival music, here’s Our Mac:

I try not to spend too much time peering around corners looking for spy boys, skeletons, or baby dolls. If you understood that sentence, you know enough about Carnival, New Orleans style to jump to the break without crash landing.

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Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Case Of The Shoplifter’s Shoe

It’s time for our third annual Muses Thursday PFT post. Why am I repeating myself? Half the city is coming to our house later today. That’s why. Here we go again:

I know what you’re thinking: when in pulp fiction doubt, post a Perry Mason cover. Guilty as charged. It’s also relevant this Muses Thursday. That all chick krewe throws decorated shoes.

I’ve also posted a cleaned up version of the cover that I stumbled into on the artist’s website. Thanks to John Farr.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Straighten Up and Fly Right

I’m exhausted from the lead up to and the aftermath of this year’s Krewe du Vieux parade. There were a series of mishaps and missteps that made it stressful for me. The political news hasn’t improved my mood either. I’m trying to get in the Carnival spirit by posting the 1939 poster seen above. Additionally, we have company tomorrow so it’s time to straighten up and fly right.

This week’s theme song was written in 1943 by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills and is based on a folk tale involving a buzzard and a signifying monkey. I am not making this up.

Straighten Up and Fly Right was the biggest hit the King Cole Trio ever had. We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the original, Diana Krall, and an instrumental by the Skatalites:

Now that we’ve straightened up, let’s fly right to the jump.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Some Other Sucker’s Parade

Carnival Triptych by Max Beckmann.

What says Carnival more than a rocker by a Scottish band ? Pretty much everything. Today is the Krewe du Vieux parade. I spend much of my week preparing for it with time-out for writing. In short, I’ve had neither the time nor the energy to assemble a full-blown Odds & Sods post.

Spank will be marching in the sixth position tonight. If you’re on the parade route, holler my name and I might even hear you. You could score some Spank swag. As always, our throws are special:

This week’s theme song was written by Justin Currie and Jon McLoughlin in 1996. It was the title track of Del Amitri’s penultimate studio album.

We have two versions of Some Other Sucker’s Parade: the studio original and the Dels live.

I might as well throw in another Del Amitri song for people who feel uncool because they won’t be at Krewe du Vieux this evening:

That’s it for this parade day edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. The last word goes to the Krewe of Spank in 2017:

Random Thoughts

I know what you’re thinking: all my thoughts are random. I stand accused and plead guilty as charged. I have some shame unlike some people. I mean a certain Impeached Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his. Fucker has no shame. He can’t wait to take his “victory” lap and brag about his “triumph.” It’s likely to be short-lived.

I want to assure Tommy T that I have his back while he’s having back issues. I’m not posting as early as he does because I try to keep normal hours. If only I could succeed in doing so. I woke up stupidly early this morning but not:

Iowa Blues: I don’t know about you, but I’ll be glad when the Iowa Caucuses are over. Polling them is notoriously unreliable and if the weather sucks, all bets are off. This is one time being a voter’s second choice is not a bad thing. If less than 15% support a candidate in the first round, they either leave or move to another candidate. It’s how Athenae’s boyfriend, John Kerry, won Iowa in 2004.

I pine for the days when Iowa didn’t matter. It’s all Jimmy Carter’s fault. He made it a thing in 1976. I loathe caucuses, they’re anti-Democratic and way too important for a small, rural, mostly white state.

Removal Trial Blues: I’m DVRing final arguments. I don’t have the heart to watch them live. The GOP’s misconduct should bite them in the ass come November. Typing that sentence felt good. I am trying mightily to remain a glass half full person. The numbers are on our side. Plus, President* Pennywise is bound to overreach and ask for help from Macedonia or some such shit.

Last Week Krewe Of Spank Blues: I don’t actually have the KdV blues, there’s just so much to do and only a few days to do it. This strikes me as a good time to link to last year’s minor masterpiece, Confessions of a Krewe du Vieux Member; written for the Bayou Brief before I became the 13th Ward Rambler. Speaking of which, I have some rambling to do so I need to sign off soon.

I have nothing to say about the Super Bowl. I was watching The Sorrow and the Pity. I am not making this up. I guess I stand accused of being a bad American. At least I know where Kansas City is located.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello:

Lagniappe Catblogging: Twelfth Night/Gotcha Day

I had an epiphany this morning and realized it’s Twelfth Night. Just kidding. I knew that already. Saints fans are drowning their sorrows with King Cake after yesterday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Oh well, what the hell can ya do? Not a damn thing.

In addition to kicking off the Carnival season, Twelfth Night is also Paul Drake’s Gotcha Day. We adopted the mischievous bugger in 2018. Here’s PD’s adoption day picture with Dr. A:

He’s a lucky cat and I’m a lucky man.

Are you ready for some lagniappe lagniappe catblogging? Dennie the Den of Muses Cat has retired from her duties. She’s living at home with her human. Here’s a blast from the past of Dennie with the Spank flag:

The last word goes to Al “Carnival Time” Johnson:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: So It Goes

Spellbound set design by Salvador Dali.

Carnival and Paul Drake’s gotcha day loom. We adopted the dear boy on Twelfth Night in 2018. I guess that means we must consume King Cake on Monday. Poor us.

I said all I have to say about the latest mess in Mesopotamia yesterday. Suffice it to say that I don’t think it’s an Archduke Ferdinand moment but it’s some serious shit,

This week’s theme song was written in 1976 by Nick Lowe for his kinda sorta solo album Jesus Of Cool, which was released in America as Pure Pop For Now People. I said kinda sorta solo album because it featured Nick’s band Rockpile on all the tracks. More about them later.

We have two versions of So It Goes for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a live medley with Heart In The City.

Both Nick Lowe and I picked up the phrase “so it goes” from Kurt Vonnegut. So it goes.

Before jumping to the break another Rockpile tune. This time the guys are backing up Nick’s then wife Carlene Carter:

Now that we’ve got all that crying out of our systems, let’s dry our eyes and jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Rocky Road

Charing Cross Bridge by Andre Derain

Carnival was alternately exhausting and exhilarating. I love it but I’m always glad when it’s over, especially when the weather is cold and wet. This year was physically difficult for me as I was in pain for the last week of the season. I ended up on the disabled list and stayed home on Mardi Gras day but I don’t regret not resting on Lundi Gras as you can see from this tweet:

Proteus is one of the “old line” krewes and their den is around the corner from Adrastos World Headquarters. They were indeed as drunk as plutocratic skunks. Watching them set up to roll is one of the pleasures of life inside the parade box. Where else can you watch three fake kings-Proteus, Comus, and Rex-toast one another on the street?

This week’s first theme song was written by Nick Lowe and Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke for Nick’s 1990 Party Of One album, which reunited him with his musical partner in crime, Dave Edmunds.

It’s disambiguation time: a different tune with the same title. Our other theme song was written by Steve Tilston but I first heard it done by Fairport Convention. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Fairport live followed by the songwriter.

Now that we’ve traveled down several rocky roads, it’s time to jump to the break.

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Lundi Gras Odds & Sods

I have no idea why that chick is riding a walrus in the poster above. To the best of my knowledge, walruses aren’t indigenous to South Louisiana.

I’ve partied hurt this Carnival season. I twisted my knee on the route while foolishly trying to catch up with these guys.

I have three friends in the group and only saw one so I tried and failed to chase them down during the Muses parade two days before that video was shot. There’s no fool like a semi-old fool.

The conditions have been wet and sloppy, which hasn’t been all bad since it’s kept the crowds down. Of course, we have Chads who are into urban camping so they have tents to duck under when it rains. Heaven forfend that you attempt join them. In Chadland, pitching a tent seems to lead to pitching a fit. It’s the public green, y’all, deal with it.

Today is the day we watch the Krewe of Proteus fall off the bus and eventually stagger onto their floats. We live around the corner from their den and enjoy seeing them arrive after their liquid pre-parade meal at Antoine’s. Our out-of-town guests are excited to have the drunken plutocrat experience.

As you can see, I’m still in the Carnival bubble so I’ve got very little to say about the Insult Comedian hugging the flag or Seb Gorka’s hamburger speech. Gorka seems to believe in life, liberty, and condiments.

In the Odds & Sods spirit, here’s today’s earworm:

Surprise, surprise, it’s a Stones song.

Happy Mardi Gras. On Wednesday we repent our sins or some such shit. I may have to give up Keef and Woody for Lent.

Saturday Odds & Sods: All Down The Line

It’s been a crazy Carnival season as always. Mayor Cantrell’s efforts to keep the Chads and their ladders off the parade route neutral grounds have won plaudits. I realize that nobody outside New Orleans understood that sentence but life sucks and then you die.

We have house guests so my writing time has been limited, which means that an all-out Odds & Sods outing isn’t feasible. I’m even a catblogging slacker this week. So it goes.

I do, however, have a theme song. The Rolling Stones have been my soundtrack for Carnival 2019 so it’s only fitting to select All Down The Line from Exile On Main Street as the theme song for this truncated outing.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the Exile original, a 1972 live version with Mick Taylor on slide guitar, and a 2006 live version from Marty’s Stones flick, Shine A Light. I love me some Woody but Mick kicks his ass on this particular tune.

You’re probably asking yourself: why are the Stones my Carnival soundtrack? I’m not big on seasonal music. It’s an area about which Dr. A and I disagree. She loves seasonal music. Given a choice I’ll take Carnival music over Christmas music but I’d rather have another choice. What can I tell ya?

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to the Valence Street chickens who have yet to watch a parade with us. Let’s hope it stays that way.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Case Of The Shoplifter’s Shoe

I’ve never deliberately repeated a PFT entry before. This was first posted  2/8/18. Why am I doing this? It’s Muses Thursday and half the city is coming to our house. That’s why:

I know what you’re thinking: when in pulp fiction doubt, post a Perry Mason cover. Guilty as charged. It’s also relevant this Muses Thursday. That all chick krewe throws decorated shoes.

I’ve also posted a cleaned up version of the cover that I stumbled into on the artist’s website. Thanks to John Farr.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Al Hirt At The Mardi Gras

It’s that time of year so let’s set the Wayback Machine to 1962 with a live album from Al Hirt. The cover, via Discogs, is a bit old and beat up but so am I.

It’s selected tracks time, baby:

The Bayou Brief: The Zulu Conundrum

New Orleans is one of the few places in the country where a white person can wear blackface in public and not be called a racist. Why? 20% of the folks who ride in the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club’s Mardi Gras day parade are white.

My latest piece at the Bayou Brief: The Zulu Conundrum is an attempt to bring nuance and context to this contentious local discussion. I believe that, as they did once before, Zulu should abandon “blacking up” for all its members, not just white riders. The reason I use the word conundrum is that this is a tricky question in New Orleans even though it’s a no-brainer elsewhere.

I realize that my non-Louisiana readers will find this discussion baffling but it won’t be the first time I’ve baffled you. And it won’t be the last.