On Friday my good pal Del called me, so excited about Friday being the start of Mardi Gras season here in New Orleans. Yes, as a Nubee, I didn’t know this, I mistakenly thought that Mardi Gras is basically the weekend before Fat Tuesday.
Del was so excited to tell me about the Phunny Phorty Phellows Krewe who traditionally kick off the parade season with a very simple procession that would normally start near my home (but since they are working on the street car line it started further down) and then eventually went to Canal & Carondelet and turned back around and came back up again. I wasn’t exactly sure of my plans, but Del was pretty insistant on me coming to see this with them.
Yes, Now My Tom-Tom is a Bitch….
After we get our logistics figured out for the evening, we head off to Cher’s apartment building. I’ve got an idea of about where it is because Cher and Jay actually showed me where they lived a few months ago, my only problem was I wasn’t quite sure how to get to certain streets. I plug in the tom-tom (who now will be referred to as “the bitch”), and we wait for a “valid GPS signal”, and wait and wait. After about 5 minutes of waiting I set off in the direction I think we should go. When the signal is finally valid….. that’s when the fun begins.
The bitch … took me through so many side streets in uptown New Orleans, then onto some other roads. What should have been about a 10 minute drive (tops) turned into 20+. There’s no way it should have taken me that long. I’m now convinced that was the bitch’s retaliation for me not believing in her to get me to the UHaul place last week. Oh the joys of temperamental tech gadgets.
Waiting on the First Mardi Gras Parade
Once we finally made it to Cher’s place we headed over a block to the street car stop and waited for the Phunny Phorty Phellows Krewe to roll by. Now this isn’t like the traditional parade that you think of with floats and bands. It’s a little bit more simple than all of that and actually was a great way to kick off my introduction into Mardi Gras. Del warned me, “it’s just as much fun to wait with your friends for the Phunny Phorty Phellows as it is watching the street car roll by for 5 minutes with them in it.” Of course Del was right.
We waited about 45 minutes for the street car to roll by, and little by little the crowd on the neutral ground (for all of you non-NOLA folks, neutral ground is the area of the street between the two lanes of traffic where the street cars travel) grew from our little group of about eight into a nice crowd of about 20 or 30 folks. People driving by were honking their horns and cheering too. Being in Pirate gear I think helped with all that cheering too.
Finally (or shall I say Phinally? .. they could fit in with my Phightin’ Phillies ya know)… here came the street car with the Phunny Phorty Phellows … all of them decked out in different costumes tossing beads and just having a great time. Some of the costumes were really neat too.
Off to Play Pirate & Help the Maritime Heritage Foundation
If there’s one thing I really love, its playing Pirate. Thankfully there’s a really great krewe here in New Orleans called the NOLA Wenches. What’s even better, in New Orleans you can dress up just about any day of the year and no one bats an eyelash (at least not the locals). Usually once a month we have some kind of event which we help out a community organization, Friday night it was the Maritime Heritage Foundation.
The Maritime Heritage Foundation’s goal is to get a “Tall Ship” to have permanent residence in New Orleans. As a pirate gal, I’m all for that. Those ships are just exquisite and to have one in my city’s harbor area would be awesome! So about 8 of our Krew showed up to help out the foundation to kick off their efforts to get this ship into New Orleans. This effort is also coinciding with the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans (1812), so in April we’ll have a whole bunch of Tall Ships on the Mississippi in New Orleans… just in time to kick of NOLA Wenches Shore Leave.
The night was a lot of fun, filled with great conversations, and yes, even the singing of Sea Chanties (I don’t think “Blow the Man Down” will be out of my brain for a few days yet)! All in all I think we all had a really great night and we were all looking forward to going to the Battlefield for the festivities there on Saturday afternoon, unfortunately fate though had other plans.