February 08, 2005

Throw me something, Mister!!!

Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!

Today, in New Orleans, Mardi Gras rushes to its conclusion as thousands of people take their clothes off and either simulate or actually have sex in public in the French Quarter. There are many Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. They don't all revolve around the French Quarter madness. Some are more family based with small kids. Some are more old fashioned.

Most people have this notion that Mardi Gras exists only for one day, or perhaps the weekend before, and that's it, just a bacchanalia. But that's not true.

Mardi Gras begins on the Twelfth Night of Christmas in New Orleans with the Krewe of the Twelfth Night as they "parade" in a street car up St. Charles Avenue. And from then on, it gets serious and most outsiders have no idea.

I'm talking about balls. White tie and tails at least twice a week during the season. Black tie begins to feel like dressed down. Balls where women actually wear ball gowns and gloves and where the after parties are great, even if the majority of them are at the New Orleans Country Club or Yacht Club. I used to go to way too many of these things, usually with a Committee Man Invitation, which meant I wasn't a spectator up in the balcony of the ball and I wasn't masked for the ball in the Krewe (although I was a member of one Krewe) but I could dance after the first couple of songs and I could bring dates. I miss the balls.

I also miss the house parties. Picture these glorious ante bellum houses thrown open with bars and food and you would wander, in the Garden District, up and down St. Charles, ducking into various parties, eating a little, visiting a little, drinking a little, borrowing a bathroom (yay!), and visiting some more. And drinking some more. And maybe just a little bit more after that. The hosts were always gregarious and hospitable and you always knew them or the people you were with had known them for years. It was so comfortable and such a tremendous way to see Mardi Gras. Maybe the best way.

I also miss the Marching Krewes. They used to march from bar to bar Uptown where we lived. And there was a decrepit little bar across from our house where I think that the average age of the patrons may have been deceased or just shy of it. And the marchers used to come on by all morning. It was really very friendly.

Of course, actually, a lot of natives fled the City and today are probably on the beach in Florida or skiing in Colorado.

So, in honor of Mardi Gras, I gotta ask, as I used to do when I rode the floats myself, and women would ask for the really nice beads:

Hey! Show me your breasts!!!

And someone please get me a Hurricane. Damn, I miss New Orleans.

Posted by Random Penseur at February 8, 2005 09:07 AM

(.)(.) There's yer boobies. I'm going to be going to new Orleans next month, any must sees??

Posted by: Holly at February 8, 2005 09:28 AM

Thanks, Holly!

I will send you my list of things to do, see and eat later today or tomorrow!

Posted by: RP at February 8, 2005 09:55 AM

I'll show you mine if you show me yours... ;)

Posted by: C at February 8, 2005 08:04 PM

Their here, can't you see them?? If not , get some glasses.
One of my many fond memories of Nawlins' was having a szarac(only hard whiskey I care to drink) in the Court of the Three Sisters while needlepointing. Then listening to Banu Gibson. The best!!

Posted by: Azalea at February 8, 2005 10:02 PM

"C" said what I was gonna say. *snicker*

I guess you really DO know what it means to miss New Orleans. (You KNEW someone was gonna say it.)

The way you describe it, I can see the charm. The bacchanalia in the streets I ain't so sure I'd be comfortable in. No, I'm damned sure I wouldn't like it. I'm long past the getting drunk for getting drunk's sake stage and I am monumentally nervous in crowds. Especially drunken hordes.

Posted by: Margi at February 9, 2005 01:38 AM

I miss New Orleans, too, and I've never been...

Posted by: Jester at February 9, 2005 04:16 AM

I've been to New Orleans several times. My ex-employer had its annual bash for customers there several years running. Each year, a few female employees would be summarily dismissed for "disrobing in public", as the company phrased it. One of my fondest memories is the shrubs growing out of the tops of brick building walls. It was hard to find anything to look at there that wasn't picturesque.

I remember an early visit where, having gotten off the plane on a Sunday afternoon and not on duty until the next day, I went down to the hotel bar. I knew the South and wondered if there was any Sunday restriction on what I could buy. "What?" the bartender asked. "This is New Orleans. Anything you want, any day, any time of day." He served up a very good bourbon and soda. Even the mid-range bourbon somehow tasted better in New Orleans.

Now I realize I've got to get back there!

Posted by: John Bruce at February 9, 2005 12:09 PM

Well, Margi and C, this is how it works, you show me yours and I give you beads. Not just any beads, mind you, but the really nice ones, the ones we used to refer to as titty beads.

Azalea, I loved the Court of the Two Sisters for brunch. You ought to try the brandy milk punch next time.

Jester, you would love New Orleans. Just love it.

John, I also feel like it has been too long. There is just something about the place that causes women to take off their clothes in public!

Posted by: RP at February 9, 2005 01:30 PM
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