Mardi Gras in New Orleans 06: Krewe York

"Three Big Chiefs they're dead and gone,
so three Big Chiefs gotta carry on.."

- Wild Magnolias, "Brother John Is Gone"

As discussed earlier in the Beams to New Orleans topic, we are moving
forward with plans for KREWE YORK, a gathering of New York's Nightworld at this year's all-important Mardi Gras in New Orleans. As nightclub, spectacle and costume devotees, we'll be participating in the 150th edition of a cultural event that has inspired us in countless different ways.

Krewe York will march as a contingent in the February 28 (Fat Tuesday) second-line (walking) parade of artists and bohemians staged each year by the secret Society of St. Anne. We ask each parading member to customize a black parasol or umbrella with the words KREWE YORK, and to participate in our Skull and Bones group motif.

So far we have interest from about a dozen of the extended Motherboards family, from longtime New Yorkers to expats living as far away as London and Toronto. They include myself, Johnny, seven, Ulysses wept, ms. Gramps (in exile, Austin) and andrea bouze-wah. I am hoping that this post will inspire more of you to attend, and make our support visible in this beloved and beleaguered city. Feel free to contact me with any questions or just post here.

I will be posting more details closer in when this year's parade route for St. Anne is firmed up , and also with ideas for a less formal meetup when we are all in town. I do urge you to make airline and especially hotel reservations soon if you are planning on attending, as many of the reasonably priced rooms are already gone, with the rest going soon.

Read more about the Society here:

http://whereyatnola.com/134


Laissez le bon temps roulet!
Original Post
Empress, I consider it an honour to join this effort in a magical city with some of my most favourite people. Just a few questions after checking out hotel possibilities online.

Would the french quarter be the best place to be located or the hotel district. Sorry if I am unclear, where the parades seem to go?

Are there ample taxis at and back to the airport or is it best to book transportation to and from in advance?

And just a clarification of the "suggested dress" would help this unrenovated techno-goth asseble a suitable suit for this auspicious debut.
Uly-

So you are definately coming...how wonderful!

Since you are from the cyber side of the family, maybe we could do a webcast or something from there - a podcast at the very least, but the visuals will be beautiful.

Re hotels, you want to be in the quiet end of the quarter if there are still rooms - this is towards Esplanade, away from Canal Street. One of my favorite hotels on this side of town that MIGHT still have a room is the Richelieu and there might be a slight chance also at the Frenchmen.

Otherwise, you will have to stay in the CBD - right across Canal, and walk or streetcar (Riverfront streetcar which is back in service) back over to the Marigny to march. There are still some rooms at various hotels there, not cheap but some around $250 a night, which was, even pre-Katrina, the going rate for the final five days of carnival at someplace gorge. I would suggest you book soon - within a week.

It WAS getting much more sold out, but Ive heard that the recent second line shootings and mayor's CHOCOLATE CITY remarks (LOL) have caused some cancellations.

And the dress code - more on that later and dont worry, we have a skull headdress for you!
According to the proprietors of the Richelieu, they will not be open the week of Fat Tuesday.

The Frenchman Hotel phone line is out of order so I was not able to obtain information about price or availability.

I have not found one decently priced accommodation listed anywhere on the internet so far.

I have a back up place to stay with friends but thier apartment is already overcrowded with displaced persons so I am still looking for a budget, but nice, hotel. Any advice would be appreciated.
Wow, thats sad about the Richelieu - we have spent several carnivals there.

The recent news that FEMA has extended paid hotel stays for evacuees/returnees has created havoc as it immediately pulls 20% more rooms out of the "pool". Of course the hotels are refusing to put New orleanians out in the streets, which is laudable. But it does create a really booked-up situation just when some of our buds are trying to go..

So seven, please email me your exact dates and what you can spend, max, and I will look into some rooms there in the Marigny that never make the web..
Here is the opening of this week's bulletin from the head of New Orleans' visitors bureau.
I like the part about "sensual indulgences."
______________________________________________

The most celebrated and historic core of the city remains intact, both physically and spiritually. The cultural riches, sensual indulgences and unparalleled service that define the New Orleans experience continue to flourish, as they have for centuries. We are open, fully prepared and eager to welcome all of our visitors again.

In outlying areas, away from the popular tourism attractions, community and infrastructure have been battered, but the soul of those neighborhoods perseveres in other ways: it shows through in the resolve of our citizens to return, rebuild and recover despite immense challenges. Those residents and business owners, along with our elected officials, wrestle daily with the most difficult questions about the revival of New Orleans' hardest hit areas. Their path may not be imminently clear, but their vision is our vision: a new New Orleans that blends the very best of this great city's past and fulfills its bright promise for the future.

Our industry has united with a renewed determination and a singular dedication to delivering the New Orleans experience visitors remember and love. Now, we are fully capable of welcoming the world back.
Hi everyone...

Fat Tuesday is just 20 short days away.. Can't wait to see everyone and of course BE IN THAT NUMBER !

+++

Have done some informal polling and decided to hold the informal MOTHERBOARDS meet up on Monday 2/27 (Lundi Gras) at "Zulufest" around 5 PM. This is just before the arrival of the Kings of Zulu and Rex by boat - one of my favorite MG traditions - and right after a free set by the Rebirth Brass Band, a truly brilliant local act.

I attach a link about zulufest, it is free and there is LOTS of great food to be bought there, so everyone could eat a BIG late lunch, as dinner is so much more challenging.

I'm getting hungry just reading about it...

quote:
the six food vendors kick up the Cajun aroma of crawfish pie, shrimp creole, file' gumbo, alligator sausage, Jamaican chicken, crawfish bread, barbeque ribs, seafood pasta, catfish po-boys, peach cobbler, pecan pie, and many more New Orleans delicacies.


http://www.experienceneworleans.com/zulu/lundigras.html

If you would like to join us email me for details and cell #. We will probably go up and catch the Monday night parades just a few blocks past Canal Street after, but will make it a fairly early night as Tuesday's call is 10 AM IN COSTUME..
Editrix in N'Orleans!
Yippeee! I have my plane ticket and a place to stay! Now, to agonize over what costumes to pack!
I'll be with a bunch of burners who just LOVE to dress up, so brace yourselves. I hear we have a Santa Rampage planned...and I'm doing my best to talk them OUT of a Pimps n Hos night. Sigh. I have a purple crinoline and a green crinoline and a sparkling gold corset, so I will be in high Mardi Gras drag for the big day!
Can't wait to march with Krewe York and experience New Orleans for the very first time ever!
Hi kids-

I've been listening to Mardi Gras music all afternoon as I begin the Swarovski parasol madness. Its putting me in the best mood - can't wait to Second Line with some of my favorite folks ANYWHERE.

Since the restaurants may still be closing early/packed on Lundi Gras, my brother has offered his house/Haitian art gallery in the Marigny for a Motherboards/Krewe York late dinner and I thought we'd get some food prepared elsewhere. I was thinking half jambalaya/nawlins cuisines, and then for the veggies, some Middle eastern stuff from Mona's - really good.

I'll be sending out an email to everyone we know is coming with details on both the Zulufest meetup and dinner for Lundi Gras and the parade meetup location as well. If we don't know you are coming, please email me by Sunday 2/26 so I can keep you in the loop.

Love to all till the big day(s)
Gorgey pic!

Kind of a downer article about this Mardi Gras from NY Times today. Implying too many are suffering for a festivity to take place?

- QUOTATION OF THE DAY -
"The money I would spend on trinkets I would put to better use for me and my family. "
- CARL HENRY, on why he will not join in a Mardi Gras parade.

".... Depending on where you wander, you can see businesses opening their doors, like flowers budding for a new spring. Near Tulane University, Yvonne LaFleur has been running the women's accessories shop that carries her name, while several neighboring stores remain shuttered. Broken glass dazzles the sidewalk near her palace of hats, gloves and gowns.

Things are different, Ms. LaFleur said. Employees have not returned. The postman delivers letters maybe twice a week, but never any catalogs. The only coffee to be bought is at a gas station. And although about 80 percent of her business has returned, more of it is done online. Those who do visit the shop share storm stories that she cannot help but carry home.

Business for Mardi Gras hats, gowns, and the long kid gloves, selling for $289 a pair, has been good. But, she said softly, "I have not seen any of my black debutante business."


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/national/nationalspec...h&emc=th&oref=slogin
The reasons FOR Mardi Gras have been stated so beautifully in this bit from METROBLOGGING NEW ORLEANS that I'll just quote it and urge you to visit the pictures of Krewe de Vieux. Here's one of my favorite floats pictured below.

quote:
Although carnival season officially started over a month ago, it never feels like mardi gras to me until I hear the first marching band and catch the first throw. Fortunately, that time came last night, when Krewe Du Vieux rolled. Their traditionally risqué floats navigated the narrow, beer sodden streets of the quarter to huge crowds, who were unafraid to bare temperatures in the 30's and wind chills in the 20's.

It is a good time for this blog, as for the next few weeks we will have something else to talk about besides the grim realities of life in our city. But it is worth pointing out, especially for those who have never experienced mardi gras before, that it is not a distraction for us. We don't do this as a circus to bring in tourist money. We do it for ourselves. We do it for a release. As the floats of Krewe du Vieux readily demonstrated, we're not ignoring our problems or trying to bring attention to them; we're laughing about them. That's what makes New Orleans so great. It's a place where death is celebrated, and it's a place where our own tragic flaws are celebrated with great gusto. Where else would people spend months working on floats like "lassiez les trailers roulez" and "home is where the tarp is?"


http://neworleans.metblogs.com/

Krewe de Vieux pics at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnodotcom/sets/72057594062966941/

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Something for you all'ins
from Rene Ricard...
the Master of
joy against all odds ---



EDIT VIEW

It's Festive tonight you said
as I stared out into
the blasted ruin of my life
"It's Festive"
tossing a sequin into the pit
The word falls flat
it's midnight
square time
time of the dogs
nineteen cigarettes
left
Wow, beautiful poem, S'tan. Thanks.

The line "tossing a sequin into the pit" could have been coined for the brave souls who paraded in the incredibly destroyed St. Bernard parish yesterday. This hardy group, Krewe of Nemesis, rolled in their first parade ever and the only one for St. Bernard.

Here's what it looked like, and below, some of their court. The incredible bravery and huge heart of these people continues to inspire me, and make me so glad we are going...fully bedazzled, of course.

Toss me a sequin, mister!

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Just in case anyone didn't get these by email, or is just finding out about Krewe York, here are the meetup directions for Fat Tuesday:

Krewe York instructions - Fat Tuesday, 2/28

Meetup at 10 AM (ouch!) outside Flora's, 2600 Royal Street (corner Franklin Ave.) in the Fauborg Marigny. We will wait for the parade and join it there (great local alternative coffeehouse if you need to pick up caffeine and/or breakfast stuff). Parade rolls at 10 AM just three blocks away, so don't be late!

How To Get There:

From French Quarter: Walk Royal Street – cross Esplanade and you are headed the right way. (Canal Street and tall buildings are the wrong way). Franklin Ave. is approx. 8 blocks past Esplanade, downriver (towards Marigny and Bywater).

From the Marigny it should be quite close and is a neigborhood crossroads, ask anyone how to get to Royal and Franklin.

What To Bring:

Please bring a black umbrella or parasol customized with the words "Krewe York" and if you like, "NYC" and "NOLA". (These umbrellas will come in handy for spotting krewe members when everything bottlenecks later on, and of course to introduce ourselves).

Other group dress motifs are skulls and bones, black and white or carnival colors (purple, green and gold), mid 19th century Creole Carnival and NYC logos.

Lots of pics on the
http://www.kreweofsaintanne.org/
site for inspiration!

Please wear comfortable shoes – it's a long day on your feet!
Hi Krewe York participants-

Sorry for the late word, but we've just heard that the St. Anne route has shortened this year, and therefore we have a new meeting place a few blocks CLOSER to the French Quarter on Fat Tuesday.

The Friendly Lounge, 2301 Chartres St, corner of Marigny.
Still 10 AM - this is the beginning of the parade, so dont be late!

Directions -

Follow Chartres Street out of the Quarter approx. 5 blocks (same direction as our old meeting spot). Marigny is one block past Elysian Fields.

Write if you have any questions...

Love and safe trip to all!
The Empress and Daddy have the real juicy snaps.

Here's Mayor Nagin doing a welcome pep-talk at the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club bash opening Lundi Gras. You shoulda seen the fatigued look on his face when Daddy shook his hand afterwards.

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The weather was so perfect. The Saint Anne's parade was one of the largest, longest, and slowest moving versions of its incarnation ever, I'm told by oldtimers. The city's spirit was absolutely stellar. The Krewe York contingent got endless tribute by way of being a photographer-magnet and other revellers coming up close to scope the group out at length. Mr. Twist was highly popular, especially after the first several blocks when more than half his costume all of a sudden disappeared leaving quite a nice bit of tan-able skin on view. I kept hearing people say, "Look at the puppet!" And then their companions say, "Look at his body!" Andrea B rocked in that brassy NYC way, fresh from her duties at a free kitchen in St. Bernard's Parish. Daddy's umbrella was better than having a body guard, the way people would part in front of it. And the Empress, -what do you say? She out gorgeoused whole blocks worth of the gorgeous. The parade was exhillerating and exhausting, I literally passed out afterwards. Truely a post-apocalyptic celebration.

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I second that emotion seven, what a trip!
I guess we should start at the beginning...

Here we are, right after greeting King Zulu and torturing the tortured mayor, at the famous Cafe Du Monde having beignets.

seven, The Empress & Basil Twist
seven, Daddy & Basil Twist

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Here is Basil Twist and Editrix Abby Ehman.
Sitting on Basil's head is our new friend "Debbie". Debbie was a big hit at the parade as you can imagine.

(Don't ever march with Basil Twist because he gets stopped every two feet by a fan wanting a picture. It's like going out on the town with...
Debbie).

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This is seven's winning skull umbrella. You can't tell here but it's like twenty feet high. You could see it for miles (which came in handy).

seven & The Empress
(And I think that is Nancy Isla's gay friend "Jizz Bucket" leaning against the wall but I'm not sure).

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Marching with Krewe York is former New Yorker and downtown tornado... the ever-(fill in the blank) Andrea Booze-Wah!.
Andrea is in New Orleans now with girlfriend Dana feeding the people of St. Bernard Parish.
(When she said that she was marching with us she added, "Mom, make sure you warn them about me, okay?"
We did.)

The Incredible Andrea Booze-Wah!

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Oh how wonderful! It sure looks like Y'all had a ball. I thought of you all and kept having to stop myself from dashing to the airport and joining you as a surprise but alas it looks like you had a great time. Gorgy pics. I can't wait to hear more details. Brilliant look as a group, but Basil's puppet has left me speechless. Welcome home. I sent beams of protection to you all.
aren't the Empress and Daddy beautiful?

for modesty's sake -let me point out my costume at the start of the day...but it was just way too hot for a gorilla suit. thank goddess i had my leopard panties on

thank you for an amazing experience, krewe york, and to the unbelievable city of New Orleans!

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Well! I had a MOST spectacular time in New Orleans! I met a million locals, all of whom were SO grateful that we New Yorkers had traveled for their big bash. SUCH lovely people! And of course, marching in the St. Anne's parade was the high point of my time down there. Positively stupifying costumes! The woman in the handpainted Marie Antoinette gown blew my mind! And I felt like I knew every one of them...truly "my people." I can't wait to go back!
Thanks Chi and Johnny for organizing the march!
xoxo
EA
Epilogue:

Touching, beautiful, joyous, and incredibly well attended – we've walked St. Anne several times before, and seen the crowd reach 1,000, but this was surely 2,000 or more. To do it with friends from New York and Elsewhere and to see old friend meet new friend, my brother smiling again for the first time since "The Thing" (in fact to see almost EVERYONE smiling again)..well, those things are priceless.

To finally appear after the five hour march at Canal Street, and have the Rex parade just beginning ( a salute to Louisiana authors and books including a gigantic float of Ignatius P. Reilly) seemed flawless juju, as did the six straight days of perfect weather.

To be thanked so many times for coming to something that one wouldn't have missed for the world, to tip magnificently and often, to BE IN THAT NUMBER – even in our interesting and bohemian lives there aren't too many experiences like this. I will remember it all.

Like the sign said "N.O. is Eternal"
Read this from "The New Yorker" about what France has done for New Orleans --

This is hot too: "The French are offering six-week residencies in France for artists displaced by the flood."

NEW ORLEANS POSTCARD
CONSULAT D'INFLUENCE
by Dan Baum
Issue of 2006-03-06

At the corner of Prytania and First Street, in New Orleans, stands a brick mansion with a French tricolor drooping from the gable. Eleven days after the levees failed, last August, heavily armed federal agents were banging on doors all over the city to order a "mandatory evacuation," and the residents of the mansion were hastening to comply. A thin middle-aged man feverishly loaded file boxes into the back of a silver S.U.V. He introduced himself as Pierre Lebovics, France's consul-general, and sidestepped the question about whether he felt that his rights had been violated by the evacuation order. "You have your, your"”" he circled a hand impatiently in front of his face. "Your Bill of Rights, your Constitution." He flapped the hand dismissively and got behind the wheel. "I am going to Baton Rouge!" he shouted. "But I will return."

The house stayed empty for weeks, but recently Lebovics answered the door, in an open-necked shirt with a green cashmere sweater draped over his shoulders. Lebovics is fifty-four but looks much younger. He is serious to the point of dour, with longish dark curls and circular horn-rimmed glasses. "France opened its first consulate in the United States right here in New Orleans after the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803," he said as he sat himself primly on a red sofa. "But we have been in this house only since the nineteen-fifties."

Lebovics spent most of his life as a Russian scholar, and after becoming a diplomat he was assigned, with the logic of foreign ministries worldwide, to two non-Russian-speaking countries: Israel and the Czech Republic. He took over in New Orleans less than a month before Katrina hit, and, despite the chaos the storm has wrought, he relishes serving in this most French of American cities. "There is a part of French culture tinged with Cajun and Creole culture," he said. "These roots run very deep in France."

New Orleans has long been a tourist destination for the French, several of whom got a lesson, from Katrina, in how American the city also is. "The Saturday before the storm, I got a call from some French tourists who wanted to evacuate," Lebovics said. They went to the most logical place, for Europeans: the train station. "Someone had decided to close the railway station on the day they were telling people to evacuate. These tourists found that quite extraordinary."

Lebovics enumerated the ways in which France has come to the aid of New Orleans, including sending tons of food and supplies, a team of divers to help assess and repair damage to the port, and funds to reopen bilingual-immersion schools where young teachers from France, on loan to Louisiana, have for thirty years taught what Lebovics called "French French."

The French Minister of Culture, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, was the first foreign dignitary to visit New Orleans after the storm, and the government quickly decided that France could be most useful in helping to preserve the city's artistic attributes. A "solidarity" concert in Paris raised money for musicians; the Louvre, the Georges Pompidou Center, and the Musée d'Orsay are planning a major exhibition of French art at the New Orleans Museum of Art early next year. And the French government raised a million dollars for Louisiana schools. The French are offering six-week residencies in France for artists displaced by the flood. "The idea is to offer them good conditions"”lodging and a stipend, and contacts with people," Lebovics said. "A fresh oxygen."

Lebovics was looking forward to Mardi Gras this week; the mayor had invited him to be part of the delegation that welcomes Rex, the Mardi Gras king. "As Frenchmen, we are attached to whatever pertains to memory," he said. "When you're raised in a house and you move away, and you pass by forty years later, you remember. It is the same with Louisiana. Katrina provoked an immediate outpouring of emotion in France that came from a feeling that this state and this city"”we are attached to it. Whatever happened after the Purchase, we felt connected. This is a feeling you do not control. It was very fresh."



\http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/060306ta_talk_baum
Esteemed Empress and members of Krewe York

My apologies for missing the boat at 10 AM due to horrid jetlag and not being able to march with you. The pictures are absolutely splendid. I DID arrive at the Mississppi River for the very end of the festivities and chatted with (I think) Editrix Abby. I was expected to see Chi Chi and Johnny there, but the temperatures were absolutely steamy, and like any true Englishman I wilted and returned to the air conditioned bar where I spent most of that day and night.

I am so glad that krewe york inspired me to go on this journey. I fell in love with a tall Texas girl who could drink JD and coke at a rate even surpassing my own. I had my first jamberlaya and, heeding the old Jackie credo, tipped dollar for dollar on each round of drinks. (After all, its not a city in China..)

But mostly I just fell in love with New orleans - such beauty amidst the ruins. Shall we make it an annual?

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