Mardi Gras: Krewe of Muses

I shot 2 rolls of high speed Fuji Superia during the parade and 1 roll of Kodak Ektar in St. Louis Cemetery #3 the next day. These are just some shots I took with my digital Polaroid or my cell phone.

Tuesday is Mardi Gras, but the preceding Thursday is the day I’m starting to look forward to the most. This is the second year I’ve gone to see the Krewe of Muses parade and spend the night and following day in the city, and I hope to do it next year. The hotel where I stay used to be the Iberville Suites but it’s now a Marriott Courtyard. They made some much-needed improvement to the rooms (especially the bathrooms), and they also have complimentary wi-fi now. I had a great room with a view of St. Louis Cemetery #1, and far away from the elevators and ice machine–I didn’t hear a peep from any of the other guests all night. They have valet parking in an inside lot, so I don’t have to worry about my car, and it can’t be beat for convenience because it’s only a pleasant 10 minute stroll from the parade route. (Actually less, but I like to walk a few blocks down St. Charles, away from the crowds and police barriers at the intersection with Canal.)

PICT0468, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

These kids were actually part of Babylon, the first parade. Muses rolls with Babylon and the Knights of Chaos, but Muses is really the only reason I’m there. Anyway, I thought they looked like Village of the Damned kids.

PICT0481, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Camel Toe Lady Steppers.

PICT0487, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

610 Stompers.

PICT0491, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Cherry Bombs.

PICT0495, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Bearded Oysters.

SSPX0091, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I caught what I thought was just a keychain penlight–what’s cool about Muses is they don’t just throw beads, and even their beads are usually unusual or fun, they have light-up medallions, fun shapes, Muses logos. Anyway, this seems to be some kind of Muses bat signal.

SSPX0090, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Still haven’t caught a shoe–I only saw one or two all night–but I did get some shoeLACES, so…progress? They say your chances of getting a shoe are better if you hold a sign, but I’d need a 3rd arm, unless I want to forget about taking photos. Maybe next year I’ll try it.

PICT0507, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

The following morning I had breakfast at Elizabeth’s, then went to St. Louis Cemetery #3, on Esplanade in Bayou St. John. It’s one of the cemeteries they built during the bad yellow fever epidemic in the 19th century, like Cypress Grove; like that cemetery, it’s big enough to drive around in.

PICT0508, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This person died in 1893, and look at how decorated their tomb is! That blows my mind when I see it.

PICT0510, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I’ve never seen a variation of my name in a Louisiana graveyard. And the only person entombed in it died about 6 weeks before I was born! DUN DUN DUNNNNN.

PICT0511, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I knew EJ Bellocq was buried here, so I drove around looking for his family tomb but couldn’t find it. But there was an office, and a very nice woman working there knew exactly where it was and pointed it out to me on a map. I’d actually been taking photos right next to it!

PICT0515, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I left him a photograph.

I took a brief trip over to Magazine Street to buy some stationery at Scriptura, then went to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. There was an exhibit by Deborah Luster that I really wanted to see called Tooth for an Eye: A Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish. She took long-exposure black & whites of homicide scenes, they were really haunting. (One of them was a photo of the Danziger Bridge, which nearly made me start crying.)

That was the only reason I went to the museum, but there were a couple other exhibits that were new since I last went and that I really enjoyed. One was oils by New Orleans painter Micheal Deas; painting isn’t really my thing but some of them were amazing. And there was a collection of Alonzo Wilson’s costumes designed for Tremé, mostly the Indian suits worn by the Guardians of the Flame, but also some Mardi Gras costumes worn by other characters.

SSPX0089, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I never noticed before, but most of the Indian suits in the first season employed the meteorological symbol for hurricane. And the Big Chief’s breastplate is obviously inspired by the search party graphics spray painted onto houses after Katrina. 8-29 being the date of the storm, ? being the unknown date when recovery would be complete. I’m not sure that date’s ever going to arrive.

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