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Archive for the ‘Mardi Gras’ Category

Mardi Gras 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 21, 2007


It’s hard to choose favorites, but after a cursory glance at my Mardi Gras photos as a whole, I’d have to say that this wins the prize for the best political costume — Uncle Sam leading Louisiana around on a leash would ask people if they wanted money, and then ask if they were from Louisiana. If they answered yes, Sam would pull back the money and nonchalantly quip, “Oh. Well you can’t have any.” (Related: Roxanne at Pandagon made reference to a pretty good Wall Street Journal article about why the recovery isn’t happening).

The wrestlers win for best group costume as well as for the day’s best performance.

It was a glorious day. After a week of chilly weather on the parade route, the sun came out and warmed up the streets for maskers, and the rain was held at bay. The joy in the streets was palpable. This is a town like no other. For all of her troubles, on a day like this, the grief, the misery, the exasperation, are all momentarily suspended as revelry reigns supreme.

More photos.

I captured this video (wmv) on my little Canon A510 not so much for the images, but for the sound. Here’s one of those occasions where I wished I had brought my audio recording gear with me, and in particular, wished I had talked more to the creators of the float (hint: if you know who these people are, please let me know — I’d still like to talk to them). The reason I’m so interested is because, after listening to the video, I realized that the singer of the song “The Opposite Machine” was Paul Gailiunas. The float designers must have been friends of his. Oddly enough, I was thinking specifically about Paul when I traded in a trouble card for a prize. The song can be found on the “Here Come the Troublemakers” CD. The Opposite Machine wins for best sentiment and idea implementation.

Here’s a short video (wmv) of the Krewe of St. Ann band playing “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In.” The joy of such celebrations shared in the streets is in marked contrast to the hateful Christian tourists marching around with their loathsome banners while stealing glances at titties. I considered for a moment catching video of a guy who was protesting the Christians in Jackson Square by drowning out their megaphones with one of his own. He just kept repeating ad nauseum, “Stop the hate. Stop the hate. Stop the hate.” I remarked to one of the Christians who begged me to take some of the water nobody would accept at the table piled high with donated clothing nobody needed that, “People don’t need clothes anymore — they need houses. You should be building houses.”

Posted in Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans | 8 Comments »

Let’s keep the keys to the city

Posted by schroeder915 on February 20, 2007

When Nagin gave away the keys of the city to the king of Rex, relinquishing leadership he doesn’t exercise, he made uncomfortable jokes about not having to do his job anymore.

Let’s keep the keys, and give no-C Ray the boot!

(I couldn’t find video of the handing away of the keys on any of the local TV newscast archives or, though I did see it on the 10:00 news last night).


Carnival, in order to be enjoyed, requires that rules and rituals be parodied, and that these rules and rituals already be recognized and respected. One must know to what degree certain behaviors are forbidden, and must feel the majesty of the forbidding norm, to appreciate their transgression. Without a valid law to break, carnival is impossible. During the Middle Ages, counterrituals such as the Mass of the Ass or the coronation of the Fool were enjoyable just because, during the rest of the year, the Holy Mass and the true King’s coronation were sacred and respectable activities. The Coena Cypriani quoted by Bachtin, a burlesque representation based upon the subversion of topical situations of the Scriptures, was enjoyed as a comic transgression only by people who took the same Scriptures seriously during the rest of the year. To a modern reader, the Coena Cypriani is only a boring series of meaningless situations, and even though the parody is recognized, it is not felt as a provocative one. Thus the prerequisites of a ‘good’ carnival are: (i) the law must be so pervasively and profoundly introjected as to be overwhelmingly present at the moment of its violation (and this explains why ‘barbaric’ comedy is hardly understandable); (ii) the moment of carnivalization must be very short, and allowed only once a year (semel in anno licet insanire); an everlasting carnival does not work: an entire year of ritual observance is needed in order to make the transgression enjoyable.

Carnival can exist only as an authorized transgression (which in fact represents a blatant case of contradicto in adjecto or of happy double binding — capable of curing instead of producing neurosis). If the ancient, religious carnival was limited in time, the modern mass-carnival is limited in space: it is reserved for certain places, certain streets, or framed by the television screen.

In this sense, comedy and carnival are not instances of real transgressions: on the contrary, they represent paramount examples of law reinforcement. They remind us of the existence of the rule.

Carnivalization can act as a revolution (Rabelais, or Joyce) when it appears unexpectedly, frustrating social expectations. But on the one side it produces its own mannerism (it is reabsorbed by society) and on the other side it is acceptable when performed within the limits of a laboratory situation (literature, stage, screen …). When an unexpected and nonauthorized carnivalization suddenly occurs in ‘real’ everday life, it is interpreted as revolution (campus confrontations, ghetto riots, blackouts, sometimes true ‘historical’ revolutions). But even revolutions produce a restoration of their own (revolutionary rules, another contradicto in adjecto) in order to install their new social model. Otherwise they are not effective revolutions, but only uprisings, revolts, transitory social disturbances.

In a world dominated by diabolical powers, in a world of everlasting transgression, nothing remains comic or carnivalesque, nothing can any longer become an object of parody.

Umberto Eco, “The frames of comic ‘freedom’,” _Carnivale!_, Ed. Thomas A. Sebeok. Berlin: Mouton, 1984.

Posted in Carnival, Katrina Dissidents, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Worst Mayor Ever | 3 Comments »

Krewe d’Etat 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 19, 2007

This is the Krewe d’Etat bulletin handed out by marchers:




I’ll post the few photos I took before the batteries died in this post later. I have a couple of connections to get the comic book thrown by the Krewe of Muses — I saw a copy — it’s what I now consider the best throw ever.

Posted in Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans | Comments Off on Krewe d’Etat 2007

Chaos Breaks Wind

Posted by schroeder915 on February 16, 2007

The Knights of Chaos 2007 parade theme: Chaos Breaks Wind. There are also photos of the Krewe of Muses. Among the highlights, Rabouin High School’s new marching band.


The deck of Chaos cards used as throws this year:


Posted in Carnival, Eddie Jordan, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Ray Nagin | 1 Comment »

Krewe of Barkus 2007

Posted by schroeder915 on February 14, 2007

The tornado(s) that ripped through New Orleans were unexpected. I had to get up early on Tuesday to go into the Black Pearl neighborhood at Uptown Square. There was considerable destruction there — car windows burst out, trees sheared and their tops slammed into cars, a church with it’s entire facade and windows blown out, a lot of new utility poles damaged and leaning on houses. When, later, I did a loop up St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton Avenue, I discovered that the destruction was far worse than what I’d already seen. The whole facade of the KIPPS school was torn off exposing classrooms inside, roofs blown off, windows blown out, live oaks shredded — it looked like the mess left after Hurricane Katrina (without the flooding). And then the tornado went through Gentilly and Pontchartrain Park. State Farm alone was saying yesterday that they expected about 5000 to 10,000 claims from the storm. These people need some serious help.

It might be inappropriate to follow with a delayed parade post, but this is New Orleans after all, and we refuse to be bowed by mother nature. Here are some Krewe of Barkus photos. As with Krewe du Vieux, I think the satire, floats, and costumes were better last year. A friend speculated that the effort put in this year might reflect this past year’s exhaustion and stress from the recovery effort.


Volunteers recently updated the Citizen Crime Watch Web site. It now contains assorted property and persons crimes for 2007. This resource could provide an extremely vital service to the community if the criminal justice system started supplying the raw 911 calls for service data and data from other systems. I encourage bloggers to advertise widely the call for criminal justice agencies to cooperate with grassroots development efforts by providing their data so that we can acquire a greater awareness about the safety of our neighborhoods, and identify ways to improve the criminal justice system. The crime mapping and reporting initiatives underway by volunteers aren’t just a novelty — they’re essential resources that belong to the community, and that belong in the community, where crime problems are lived with on a daily basis, and where confidence in the criminal justice system has eroded. Communities need to be empowered to own the solutions to their problems for the community policing idea to work — but they also need to have the data in hand to hold their public officials accountable when the criminal justice system isn’t backing them up.

I’m trying to get caught up on a number of tasks, but time permitting, I soon hope to post some reflections on the testimony of NOPD Superintendent Warren Riley and District Attorney Eddie Jordan at the City Council criminal justice committee hearing this past Monday.

Posted in Carnival, Crime, Crime Mapping, GIS, Mardi Gras, New Orleans | 5 Comments »