Tag Archives: parade

A weekend of Mardi Gras Revelry before a big (Griswold-ian) family trip


When you’re born and raised in New Orleans, you love Mardi Gras. You appreciate Mardi Gras. You anxiously anticipate its arrival each year. But sometimes you just don’t make it to every parade anymore.

My family and I had a great last few days. Until this weekend, things like dance classes, talent shows, homework assignments, unseasonably cold weather snaps and torrential downpours (usually only situated within the city’s six month hurricane season) kept us away from the festivities. But, since we’ll be flying to Disney tomorrow for my kids to participate in a behind-the-scenes program there, we decided we needed to make the most of our Mardi Gras weekend before we left.

There were three days of great parades available to us, only two of which didn’t involve excessive rain. Friday night, we joined friends who along with many others in their circle had rented an apartment for the entirety of the season on St. Charles Avenue, the main drag of nearly every major parade in the city. It’s crazy really. It’s an apartment occupied the other eleven months of the year by, no doubt, a Tulane or Loyola student. It’s modest – one “great” room (a term used very loosely), one bedroom, a kitchenette and a bathroom. And the individuals that rent them for the year know full well that they’ll pay twice the annual rent unless they’re willing to vacate (and, by that, I mean 100% of their belongings) the premises for the month of Mardi Gras. The apartment owners are then able to rent the space out that one month for as much as they’re getting for the other eleven. Usually to a group of families willing to split the high cost for the beauty of having the storage area each night for the many ladders, ice chests, chairs, throws and other assorted crap we all find a must for our parade set-ups. Oh, and let’s not forget the invaluable asset of a bathroom located only steps away from your viewing area on the avenue. These days, I think people would pay that high one-month-rental price for that perk alone.

Every year, I find myself paying a buck-a-pee at various restaurants all over the city or, better yet, befriending people along the route who so kindly offer up their bathrooms only after they’ve determined I’m not a serial killer. (One of these days I’m going to live up to that urban legend and pay the high price of one of my kidneys for peeing in a stranger’s bathroom.)

Anyway, we had a great time Friday, horning in on the well-executed plans of our friends. We’re not part of their Carnival Commune but have certainly considered joining it from year to year. A case of beer and lots of snacks were our ticket in this year. And we all had a blast as we watched one (Krewe of Hermes) … two (Krewe of D’Etat) … three (Krewe of Morpheus) parades pass us by, loading my kids up with beads, stuffed animals (because we SO need more in my house) and all kinds of light-up “jewelry” which has become a coveted staple at these nighttime parades.

By the time we got home, it was just after midnight. And both of my kids (even my son who feels admitting to fatigue is a sign of weakness) begged to go to bed. Dave & I were more than happy to oblige. We all slept like the dead that night.

Saturday was easy. Not easy to decide. But easy as far as parade endurance. The weather was horrid. And, after going back and forth about it for literally hours, we decided to let our kids simply enjoy their rainy day playdates and forego the parade that day. It – was – a – mess. My most sincere apologies to our good friends who throw an incredible party for this parade (Krewe of Endymion) every year. We’ll be there next year. And Dave will make his homemade king cake. Man, was it good.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. With the excessive rain behind us, the sun was out and the weather was actually a little cold. Of course, the grounds were still a soggy mess so a very wise choice was made by me to wear my knee length rubber boots as there were times my entire foot was fully submerged in the swampy muck. I felt sorry for my other family members who were all in sneakers. But there’s always next year, right?

It took us forever to find a parking spot but we finally did … in a little church lot for $20 about 10 or 12 blocks from where we were headed. Par for the course for Mardi Gras I explained to my somewhat whiny kids. “The walk is half the fun!” I lied. It’s only a half-lie really. I honestly don’t mind the walk. You get in a lot of great people-watching when you walk the parade route. I saw a 300-pound woman dancing in a purple wig, tube top, tutu and roller skates to Sir Mix-A-Lot on my way there. And she’s one in a million this time of year. “Drink it in, kids. This is YOUR city.”

We found our spot and joined our friends who’d been out there since 5am to reserve their space on the neutral ground. (That’s what the median is called around here. The term goes back more than a century literally meaning the ‘neutral ground’ in the middle of the street where two different ethnic groups could meet in peace.)

We caught the Krewe of Thoth and, after a short break to eat and regroup a bit, Krewe of Bacchus, one of the biggest Carnival organizations in the city. This year, the parade’s king (referred to simply as Bacchus 2012) was funny man, Will Ferrell. He’s in town filming a movie (with Zack Galifianakis … and I spelled that name without looking it up … Go, me!) and has been busy doing everything from visiting the local Children’s Hospital to emceeing at the New Orleans Hornets Basketball game. From what I’ve seen, he’s having a ball and it looks like New Orleans has welcomed him with bit, fat, easy open arms. That doesn’t always happens with some of the Grand Marshals of years gone by.

Click here see a clip of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu introducing Ferrell and toasting him as Bacchus XLIV.

My family had a wonderful time. My daughter and I each only got smacked once with beads. We caught lots of stuffed animals and footballs, so both kids were happy. We had more than enough food and drink. And I introduced my boy to the art of public urination.

Don’t judge me. He’s a boy. My girl used a ‘proper potty’ every time. And, if it makes you feel any better, I explained to him that his days of this convenient method are numbered … as it’s a punishable offense when he’s grown. I honestly don’t think he had another drink for the rest of the night. Poor kid.

And now, completely exhausted and totally behind in our planning, we need to get organized for Disney. As we are leaving … ugh … tomorrow morning. I’ll try to check in again soon from “The Happiest Place on Earth.’

Happy Mardi Gras!

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Stuff that happened this week that I thought was worth mentioning …


Today’s Weight … 120.8

It’s been five days since I checked in here. Glad to see that number down a bit. Pretty impressive considering the cheese consumption in this household this week. And we’re now headed into Mardi Gras weekend. The good news is … lots of walking. The bad … lots of food … and drink. Sigh. Promise to be honest with the stupid weigh-ins. Ugh.

Don’t get it? Check this post.

1. I attended a Polyphonic Spree concert with my brother and my friend, Vanessa. I realize most of you probably aren’t familiar with this band, so please allow me to pontificate. There’s something about their music (especially live) that elicits an inexplicable feeling of euphoria usually only indicative of a nice muscle relaxant. Or, well, something like that. Maybe it’s the 16 people taking the stage at once wearing choir robes and carrying with them an orchestra’s worth of instruments that sets them apart. I don’t know. And, because I’m a big dork, I stuck around after the concert to meet the band’s frontman, Tim DeLaughter (even his freakin’ name sounds happy) and snap a quick photo. I’ve included the picture as well as a shameless plug for the band (a video of their appearance on Scrubs in 2004 – Love this band. Love this show).

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2. While Googling the above song for a good video for this post, I was reminded of a movie (in which the song was used) that I always intended but never actually got around to seeing. (Story of my life.) So this week, thanks to Netflix, I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Anyone besides me ever see it? That is one unconventional film. And it involves Jim Carrey in a serious (as opposed to manically stupid) role which (like Robin Williams) is always a good thing. I won’t ruin it for you by rehashing the whole plot. Just go see it for yourself some time and come back and tell me what you think.

3. Ellen DeGeneres used one of my jokes on her show this week. “ONE of my.” That’s funny. Like I have an arsenal or something. Anyway, she was seeking corny Valentine’s Day jokes and I tweeted her one. What’s that? Well, YES, I tweet. It’s 2012, McFly. (Great. Any hipness Twitter just bought me was erased by my cavalier use of ‘McFly.’)

4. I lost half of my face to a little snafu with a women’s skin care product, uncharacteristically cold weather and my own, full-on ignorance. Apparently, Retin-A does not double as a moisturizer. I’ll bet any woman worth her salt already knew that. In the area of cosmetics and girly savoir faire, I am not worth any salt, mine or anyone else’s. Which, apparently, is only about $2.99 per pound, thus rendering me pretty useless. Except that when I complained of my Retin-A debacle, one friend actually said I was ‘making leprosy cool.’ Um, thanks?

5. I made cheese. Yes, that’s right. I built it. From the ground up … or the milk up, as it were. There were powders, liquids, cooking thermometers and oversized, cauldron-y-looking pots involved. And then there was the whole curds-and-whey-separation, a rather tedious process. And kneading. Dear God, was there kneading. But, in the end, there was cheese. Mozzarella cheese. That we promptly used on a homemade pizza for dinner last night. I made cheese. (Sniff.) I may try walking on water later this weekend.

6. I watched my girl kick butt in her third year in the school talent show. She channeled a young Michael Jackson beautifully in her own take on ‘I Want You Back,” although I think she was going for Nickelodeon’s Victoria Justice who recently covered the old J5 song. And, as always, we got to see a lot of other kids strutting their best stuff on stage all evening. One of my favorite acts involved two nine-year-old white boys popping and locking better than a 1980s Alfonso Ribeiro. (Without googling him, please comment below if you actually know who I’m talking about. No cheating!)

7. With the help of a few friends, I compiled a list of of people we’d like to see cloned and sent it to @GeneticsView who (foolishly) decided to follow me on Twitter. They hung in there for most of my shenanigans but finally unfollowed me because, I think, I got greedy and asked for too many clones. Who was on the list, you ask? Using the input of others as well as my own ideas, we sent them the following names: Brad Pitt, Jane Russell, Johnny Depp, Julia Child, Bono, Ellen Degeneres and Orlando Bloom. We were really just getting started when they unfollowed. Cowards. What crappy customer service.

8. I learned that I am an unteachable monkey when it comes to the computer. As such, there will likely be many more ‘This is not a real blog post‘ blog posts until I get this crap straightened out. Feel free to ignore them.

9. I learned that I know someone who knows Paul McCartney. That’s only two degrees, people. Meaning YOU are only three degrees of separation from Sir Paul. Go run and update your Facebook statuses … now!

10. I accidentally emailed my kids’ teachers from my ‘tits’ email again. Bear in mind, my daughter’s teachers include a nun. Please say a prayer for me immediately.

11. I an effort to throw off the many cheesy porn autobots of the world, I tried reprogramming my Twitter account by using hashtags like #Osmonds, #GirlScouts, #PBS, #BillCosby, #7thHeaven, #milk, #Crazy8s and #Waltons. It worked, but only for about five hours.

12. I devoted a day of my life to thinking good thoughts about Doug Henning. Doug Henning, you guys! Am I the only one who misses his big, buck teeth? Did you know he was a magician, illusionist, escape artist AND politician? Didn’t see that one coming, did you? A moment of silence for Mr. Henning, please.


Oh, yeah. And we passed 25,000 hits on this six-month-old blog. Yay, us! Thanks to all for reading. Happy Mardi Gras! I’m off to THE paradeS. 

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Seven weird things that happened to me since my last post


Today’s Weight … 121.9

Two pieces of king cake, sushi, crawfish pasta, finger sandwiches, french fries, cheese, an Oreo ball, a doughnut and alcohol. Oh, and a banana. Surprisingly not a good recipe for weight loss.

Don’t get it? Check this post.

(1) I bit down into a fried oyster and may have cracked my tooth on, ironically, another tooth. Actually, part of another tooth … that somehow was deposited and cooked with the oyster. It was restaurant leftovers. And, yes, I realize how completely disgusting this situation is … as it was in my mouth.

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(2) I watched as a group of dads (I’m sorry, I mean really tough guys) defended the honor of my friend, Vanessa, who was accosted by a large group of redneck hillbillies (I can say it, I’m from here) at the family Mardi Gras parade this weekend. Totally serious. It almost got as ugly as the people doing the accosting.

(3) I was handed a tooth at our Superbowl party yesterday. Granted, it was my daughter’s. But still … what’s with all the dental omens?

(4) I stopped to take a picture of my neighbor’s garbage … a 1960s-ish AirGoMeter (wondering if it’s Air-GO-Meter or AirGOMeter) … and contemplated “stealing” it for the purposes of my own entertainment.

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(5) I used a bathroom with a bidet yesterday. I thought that merited mentioning.

(6) I was sold a beer at my Superbowl party yesterday by my daughter.

(7) I helped a friendly stranger name her (hopefully award-winning) vegetarian chili. My suggestion? Milli Vanilli Chili. Because the recipe includes an ingredient posing as a something else.

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Busy day of Mardi Gras parades, Superbowl parties & #footballforwomen


Today’s Weight … 121.3

“Losing weight during Mardi Gras season is going to be harder than I thought,” said me, with a mouth full of doughnut.

Don’t get it? Check this post.

I just dropped off my family and an entire truckload of crap at the float for their parade.  My daughter’s on the bottom level with a bunch of friends.  My son’s up top with one friend and a bunch of crazy-looking people I don’t know.  Among them is a tattooed lady in Harley Davidson assless (is that hyphenated?) chaps.  And she’s 72. (Shudder.)  Dave will be running up and down the ladder checking on both of the kids throughout the parade.  And I’ll be running behind the float trying to break my boy’s two-story fall with my body.

Well, that was my personal Facebook post today anyway.  (It’s a joke. And, yes, I know it was hiLARious!)

I will not really be chasing behind the float.  I will be at the end of the parade waiting with friends and family to see my little people on their inaugural float ride (read: rite of passage in these parts) and hoping to get their attention long enough for at least one blurry photograph. (Sniff.)

And we will be dashing straight from the parade (and its after-party) festivities to a Superbowl party.  Those of you who have been following along know I’m not a huge sports fan.  Of course, it would have been entirely different if the Saints were playing today. Sigh.

So, if you’re on Twitter and you’re sitting around today confused … or bored … or just seeking a laugh between plays, look for us on #footballforwomen.  It’s sort of like #shitgirlssay, football-style. And don’t be afraid to put in your (Kick it through the thing!! Kick it through the thing!! ) two cents.

Go … uh … team!

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Now taking ideas for what’s acceptable to hurl off a Mardi Gras float


Today’s Weight … 121.7

I ate cheese, damn it! In pizza form! TWO deliciously-evil, triangular-shaped pizza forms!

Don’t get it? Check this post.

My kids are riding in a parade this weekend. This is New Orleans, remember? It’s their first experience and, needless to say, they are totally pumped. As such, I’ve spent the last few weeks scouring our closets, cabinets, drawers, pantry, pockets, shed, yard, cat box and sofa cushions for trinkets or anything that would be appropriate for chucking off a float. If you’re not from NOLA, know that I’ve caught everything from large leafy vegetables to five-foot Tweety Bird plushes to real, non-novelty underwear … so everything in this house is fair game. I’ve also badgered everyone within driving distance offering to pick up their household sludge. Plus, I visited the nearest Mardi Gras supply store (they abound here) to purchase a few choice items that my kids specifically requested for their stash. The boy’s number one throw request? Moon pies. And the girl’s? Stuffed animals.

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Holy crap. Someone call ‘Hoarders.’ (God, I hope we have enough …)

My girl’s so excited about riding that she used it as the theme for her English assignment yesterday to create a cinquain (don’t feel bad – I totally had to look it up, too) which is a class of poetic forms that employ a 5-line pattern. She showed me her creation while she was doing her homework today.

Very cute. She’s got the crown, the masks, all the Carnival colors … it seems right on, yes?

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Until I zoomed in a little …

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“Fighting, Acting, Yelling??” Well … now she makes us sound like a bunch of uncivilized, redneck hillbillies!

Of course, I guess I’m doing my job right selling it to her as a mom (a New Orleans mom) because she followed up that colorfully violent description with “A Great Experience for Everyone” and “Incredible.”

I guess we are what we are down here. And my kids are riding with their dad anyway. So, if there’s going to be any “fighting” over airborne crap thrown in my direction, I will be the one doing it. Cross your fingers my kids don’t see me.

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