Category Archives: Mardi Gras

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.

It Came From The Catch Basin

New Orleans has a problem with tons of plastic beads clogging up catch basins on the parade route. That inspired the Krewe of Spank’s Krewe du Vieux float this year:

That was, of course, before the bead monster known in these parts as the Beadgaroux hit the streets. This is our official, but not officious, 2019 logo:

Our most coveted throw was a set of nine trading cards “celebrating” clogged drains and bead monsters.

I wish I could take credit but the amuse-douche joke was the handiwork of my friend David Tower. Btw, he lives up to the name: he’s a tall dude.

Spank hit the big time this year. We’re featured in this video. I’m the guy in the green derby/bowler:

One of Spank’s closest sub-krewe friends is the Krewe of Mishigas. Their float was a work of twisted genius:

The RBG figure started off with a full rack, so I suggested that she needed boob reduction “surgery.” It turned out quite well.

The Mishigas button below was one of the most sought after throws of the evening. The photo is via international man of mystery Peris B.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers get the last word with a little ditty that was inspired by the 1956 sci-fi flick,  It Conquered The World:

FYI, our monster was better than the one in the cheesy movie.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Pearl Of The Quarter

Krewe du Vieux 2019

Krewe du Vieux ate my week and the Krewe of Spank whuppped my ass. Today is the big day, which is why this week’s entry qualifies as a placeholder. If you want to re-read Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member to get into the spirit of the occasion, there’s no time like the present.

This week’s theme song was written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in 1973. It’s one of my favorite Steely Dan album tracks. It’s the touching tale of a man in love with a French Quarter prostitute named Louise. Ooh la la.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the steel guitar driven Steely Dan original followed by a swell 2013 cover by Boz Scaggs:

That’s it for this week. The closing bat meme is a picture taken by Dr. A near the Den of Muses.

The last word goes to the Neville Brothers:

Valentine’s Day In New Orleans

I’m not big on Hallmark card holidays. My mother used to make fun of Mother’s Day and thought Valentine’s Day was silly. Her stock line about the former was: “It’s always mother’s day in this family.” Mom’s attitude about Hallmark card holidays prepared me for Valentine’s Day in New Orleans.

Valentine’s Day typically takes place during Carnival and I think you know what my priority is. The good news is that my awesome wife, Dr. A, agrees. In fact, Krewe du Vieux has marched on Valentine’s Day several times during its history.

We will spend today working on our costumes for the big day. And we will spend tonight with 53 of our closest friends as it’s Spank throws distribution night. Our theme is still top-secret. I wouldn’t even allow Slumlord Jared access. Unless, that is, he bribed me. I am easily corrupted. What else would you expect from a Greek guy who lives in the Gret Stet of Louisiana?

There’s an image going around social media that sums up New Orleans’ relationship with Valentine’s Day:

Holy St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Batman.

Finally a message for Dr. A. As Maybe Cousin Telly would surely say at this point:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: New Orleans Mourning/The Axeman’s Jazz

I rarely post any book  covers released after 1970 but there are always exceptions. These two novels by Julie Smith are set in New Orleans. And 1990’s New Orleans Mourning features a spectacular crime: Rex, King of Carnival, is murdered on his float on Mardi Gras day.

Bayou Brief: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member

Carnival 2019 is as long as Anthony Davis’ arms. Unlike AD it doesn’t want to be traded to the Lakers. I’m not sure what LeBron would make of this on his home court:

Earlier today my latest piece for the Bayou Brief went live: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member. It’s a photo essay about my life and times as a member of Krewe du Vieux; something y’all have heard me go on about here at First Draft.

I picked the title because it’s catchy not because I confess to all that much. I must confess that it’s a relief not to write about a certain asshole president* who lied his way through the SOTU. I didn’t watch. Dr. A and I were babysitting our de facto nieces and nephew aka the Child Army. There was, however, snark and shade involved:

That’s why her nickname is the Benevolent Dictator. In the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, I don’t get no respect. It’s an open question as to whether I deserve any.

The last word goes to Jay McShann and the Rolling Stones with this confessional classic:

Aretha Franklin, R.I.P.

I grew up listening to soul music. I even remember preachers complaining about its mix of the sacred and profane aka gospel and blues. The greatest soul singer of them all was a preacher’s daughter from Detroit, Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul died today at the age of 76.

Aretha’s career had more highlights than a mere blogger can recount. The most recent of which was singing at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. Equally memorable was THE HAT:

It had folks in New Orleans buzzing. So much so that my friend Carol knocked it off for herself, Dr. A, and her husband Mark. Speaking of preachers, Mark is my personal minister. Talk about losing battles.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Dr. A, Carol, and Mark. Muses Party, 2009

I realize that this is an odd and idiosyncratic Aretha memory to share but I’m an odd and idiosyncratic guy.

In keeping with this odd and idiosyncratic tribute, here’s an odd and idiosyncratic musical selection:

The Queen of Soul is dead, long live the Queen of Soul.