Archive for the ‘Mardi Gras’ Category

>Did you see this in New Orleans?

March 12, 2011

>You might see things in New Orleans that you won’t see anywhere else.

Of course this was Mardi Gras, so a lot of people were dressed in their finest.


This doll head caught our attention.

The St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most recognized sites in the city.

Explain this to me. I never saw the cat that was supposed to eat here, bathed in floodlight. We walked by this at all hours of the day and night; it was near the bed and breakfast where we were staying.

The pseudo-Christians were out in full force during Mardi Gras. On Bourbon Street they tried to take on the gay community near Cafe Lafitte in Exile.

I made a short video of the stand-off with my phone. The gays won, by the way. As the protesters left, men were still drinking and dancing was still going on in the bar. The video is noisy and all you hear is the motorcycle drowning out the megaphone, but there is a sweet kiss near the end.

Call me crazy but Canal Street reminds me of Times Square with palm trees and street cars. The street is so busy with people and vendors – the energy is the same.

At night during a parade the crowds really come out along Canal Street. We met a straight couple from Minnesota, three gay college kids from France (in school in Florida), some college age beer drinking kids from Shreveport and from Mississippi, and a Hispanic couple from Midland Texas.

We also caught two bags full of beads and stuffed animals and doubloons and other stuff.

The imagination and creativity in New Orleans is on display everywhere you turn.

We need some of that creativity to be displayed in Bessemer. We know there are creative people here. I know that there are musicians, artists, dancers, writers – all of whom are being repressed, just waiting for their opportunity.

All it would take is a coffee shop/art gallery where poetry readings could take place and an occasional jazz musician could take the stage. That could be the beginning.

You know, the Birmingham Music Cooperative was seeking to locate in an old house in Norwood, but I think the residents ran them off. I want to invite them to Bessemer, where there are plenty of old houses they could fix up and use. We need the culture, and welcome the artists.

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>The Music of Mardi Gras

March 11, 2011

>We watched several parades during Mardi Gras and each had several marching bands, mostly from area schools.

One band during the Orpheus Parade stood out. I didn’t get any pictures, but here is a video of them during the last year’s parade.

The Roots of Music is a New Orleans group that fills a void left after Katrina. Some middle schools had to drop their music programs; not good in a city where music plays such a vital role. The Roots of Music offers young people an opportunity to learn and march in formation.

Notice that at least one of the members of this marching band is very young.

But music fills the streets of the French Quarter as well. There are many street musicians along Royal Street and elsewhere, and I took some pictures (and tipped the musicians).

This soloist was along the riverfront and we sat on a bench and listened to him while ships slowly passed by on the Mississippi. I could spend some time every day in this spot, watching the river and listening to music.


This one man band was on Royal Street, and two ladies from Japan walked up as he was playing. He recognized them as Japanese, spoke to them in their language, and sang a Japanese song they were familiar with.


Not far away we listened to this man on the clarinet and his friend on the steel drum.


Further down Royal the music changed a bit. This group was sort of folk/hillbilly.


As was this one. I didn’t get the names of most of these groups, but this one had their name displayed, Slick Skillet Serenaders.

I found a video of them taken on Royal Street a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s another pair of musicians.


And a quartet.


This is the man that was playing long side the clarinetist. Now he is playing solo.


Everyone who has been to New Orleans knows that you hear music everywhere you go. Jazz, blues, rockabilly, Brazilian, Zydeco, or any other style you want. The music in New Orleans seems to keep the city in rhythm. We even had a Jazz combo playing while we ate breakfast one morning.

Ubiquitous music and a coffee shops every other block (in the residential area we stayed in). Two things that bring people together. Things I wish we had in Bessemer.

>Fat Tuesday in New Orleans

March 10, 2011

>Mardi Gras in New Orleans was reported to bring $322 million in economic benefit to the city.

That’s a lot of money.

Over a million people visited New Orleans during Carnival, and hundreds of thousands crowded into the French Quarter on Monday and Tuesday. Tens of thousands more lined the streets on Fat Tuesday to watch the Zulu and Rex Parades.

Rather than attending these two parades (we had already seen Bacchus and Endymion and Proteus and Orpheus and others, and brought home two large bags of beads and stuffed animals that we caught) and take in the St. Anne parade that begins in the Bywater and courses down Royal through the Marigny neighborhood and into the quarter.

There you see the most creative costumes, only a few of which I will share. These photos are copyright, by the way.

There were many costumes that focused on death or dead people but this was by far the best.

Look at this young lady in training.

I never was able to catch what this group of marchers stood for, but two out of the group posed for this shot.

This was the banner that preceded a marching band that paraded separately from the others. Many costumes and groups parodied the religious groups that were in New Orleans crusading against “adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, and revelers,” among others.

This picture was actually taken in the French Quarter, but earlier these guys had marched with the others through the Marigny. Colorful, huh?

In the French Quarter the annual Bourbon Street Awards took place, and this event was the lead Mardi Gras story on the local news. The awards take place amidst the gay clubs on Bourbon, and while we didn’t have a great view of the contest, I did get some photos.

The New Orleans police chief rode up to the stage on horse back, and got the biggest applause of the day, because of his department’s support of the gay community, as noted by the emcee.

Q-Tip was one of the contestants.

This guy said it took several months to create this. He was featured on the TV news.


This was an interesting costume, but unfortunately I didn’t get it all in the picture.


There is no way to adequately reflect the array of costumes. And no way to express how much fun it is watching so many people enjoying themselves; in the Quarter, on Frenchman, at the parades. I’ll share more in the coming days about some of the uniqueness of New Orleans and the music and art in the Quarter.

>Happy Mardi Gras

February 16, 2010

>Kathy posted this video on Birmingham Blues and I thought my readers might enjoy it too. It’s titled “Silent Monks Sing Halleluia” (but it’s actually some high school kids (who need a spelling lesson)) and has gotten over 4 million hits. If you need a laugh, here’s your chance.

Today is Fat Tuesday. Here’s a link to Parade Cam from the Fat Harry’s building on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Parades should be rolling at 10:00, but I’ve never been there when they began on time. During the parades there will be narration hosted by NOLA.com.

Here’s some video of the Orpheus Parade last night, just so you will know what we are missing.

Have a happy and safe Mardi Gras!

Orpheus Rolls Down Uptown Parade Route

http://tribeca.vidavee.com/advance/vidavee/playerv3/vFlasher_debug.swf/p19=movie1266334287772&d=AED32F4D4FDCE4ACE5239F3B28A4AD43&

>Happy Mardi Gras!!!

February 24, 2009

>It’s Fat Tuesday and we should all be down in New Orleans (Or Mobile if you like things a little more tame) celebrating. Right now I would be standing along the ZULU parade route on St. Charles waiting. The parade never starts on time, of course, which means the Rex Parade will be late also. Watch them live today here.

Maybe next year…sigh. Anyway, Mardi Gras is a great distraction…


…from things like a governor who feels he’s not being Republican enough and after meeting with the other out of touch governors decides Alabama doesn’t need to help those who are out of work so he’s going to reject $66 million in stimulus funds.

“The decision means thousands of out-of-work Alabamians who may have qualified
for the expanded benefits, such as people who worked part-time, will continue to be blocked from collecting unemployment.”

And Mardi Gras could distract…

…from a Senator who still feels the need to question our president’s legitimacy. It’s sad enough that a Cullman resident would even pose the question, but senator Shelby should have just refused to comment.

Alabama Republicans…finding new ways to embarrass us every chance they get.

Yes…Mardi Gras could be distracting…

A Big Tuesday in Alabama

February 5, 2008


All the entertainment is not in New Orleans. In Montgomery the Alabama legislature begins its session today. In fact hold your breath until we see an indication that the Senate will actually accomplish something. Something positive and progressive at that. Now that we know there is no discipline and that raucus politics and sucker punches are OK, who knows what will happen.

And hold your breath while we wait on the results of today’s primary elections. When I voted early this morning in Bessemer about 4 people had requested Republican ballots and about 40 had asked for Democrat ballots. That will come as no surpise to anyone except Dale Jones who once wrote “Obviously you are aware that you and your views are in the EXTREME MINORITY in Bessemer, AL ” in a comment on this blog. Since my views are pretty much in line with the Democratic candidates being voted on today, I would say my views are in the “EXTREME MAJORITY” here in Bessemer. In other words…more people share the common views of the Democratic Party than the Republican Party in Bessemer.

Celebrate Fat Tuesday today.

The Zulu parade has been my favorite.


Time for some Jambalaya and Pecan Cobbler. Happy Mardi Gras

>A Big Tuesday in Alabama

February 5, 2008

>
All the entertainment is not in New Orleans. In Montgomery the Alabama legislature begins its session today. In fact hold your breath until we see an indication that the Senate will actually accomplish something. Something positive and progressive at that. Now that we know there is no discipline and that raucus politics and sucker punches are OK, who knows what will happen.

And hold your breath while we wait on the results of today’s primary elections. When I voted early this morning in Bessemer about 4 people had requested Republican ballots and about 40 had asked for Democrat ballots. That will come as no surpise to anyone except Dale Jones who once wrote “Obviously you are aware that you and your views are in the EXTREME MINORITY in Bessemer, AL ” in a comment on this blog. Since my views are pretty much in line with the Democratic candidates being voted on today, I would say my views are in the “EXTREME MAJORITY” here in Bessemer. In other words…more people share the common views of the Democratic Party than the Republican Party in Bessemer.

Celebrate Fat Tuesday today.

The Zulu parade has been my favorite.


Time for some Jambalaya and Pecan Cobbler. Happy Mardi Gras