03 March 2003

I got up early Saturday, even though we were out late at the BTE concert the night before. I had lots to do!

I put some towels in the washing machine, because somehow Jen and James had used every towel in our house. (Love you guys! Kisses!) Then I went to Walgreen's to drop off the pictures of Sonya on her float during the Muses parade (I'll get those up here eventually) and to the A & P for sodas, peanut butter and beer. You know, the staples. I also managed to vacuum the worst of the rainwater out of Sonya's car and I stopped by Starbucks for a venti mocha that had me blasting off a caffeine-fuelled bowel movement the moment I got back home.

So I had this big coffee, right? And while Sonya is just creeping down the stairs I'm in the midst of a full-on coffee frenzy. I'm jukin' and jivin' and picking up and wiping down and dancing about to the New Orleans-centric music that was first on WWOZ, then on a collection of CD's I put in the stereo.

"Wow. You're really worked up, aren't you?" Sonya observed. She cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed.

Then it was time to go to the parades.

There are normally two parades Uptown on the Saturday before Mardi Gras: Iris and Tucks. This year, uber-parade Endymion came Uptown, too, due to construction on its normal Canal Street route. So it was to be a full day of parades. Sonya and I each took a chair, and I had a little cooler full of Coke and beer. We parked ourselves between some grabby old people and some obnoxious adults on ladders. Soon we were joined by some of Sonya's coworkers and grad students, so we had us a nice little party. Someone kept running for drinks and keeping the beer cooler stocked. We ate fair food from the corn dog vendors. We danced in the street to the obnoxious DJ at the corner of St. Mary and St. Charles. Iris is all women, and I got lots of beads.

[A digression: it's a popular misconception that you must show your naughty bits to get beads during Mardi Gras. Not true! Yes, if you want beads from the people on balconies in the French Quarter you may have to get naked. But if you go to a parade Uptown beads are flung pretty much at random, though eye contact will get you more goodies. Now you know.]

It was a fine day.

Our friends Lark and Barbara were flying into town that evening. They made it to airport sometimes shortly before the Endymion parade reached up. I advised them on what to tell their cab driver, direction-wise, then hung up to wait for their call when they got near the house.

God bless cell phones, by the way.

I was heading back to the house, expecting our guests were nearby, when I got a call.

The cab driver couldn't get across the parade route. I told him to go back to Tchoupitoulas and he said it was blocked off. I didn't believe him, but I later found out this was true. Anyway, the assclown dropped off Barbara and Lark two miles from my house, on the other side of the parade and with their bags in tow!


"I'll come get you," I babbled into the phone. After a minute, though, I reconsidered.

"I can't," I told them, "I'm drunk."

Lark and Barbara, however, are nothing if not a charmer. Apparently, they talked their way across the parade route and walked to a gas station. There, they scammed a a ride from a couple of girls heading in the vague direction of my house. I met them at the Half Moon and apologized for my town's lack of civility. And I gave them a drink. They were happy.

Back up to St. Charles, where Lark and Barbara threw themselves into the festivities. Barbara did some major mackin' with Baris, a grad student Sonya works with, and Lark ate Chinese food and caught beads.

About ten o'clock we went back to the house to clean up and head back out. We went to the Quarter where we hooked up with Donna and Jimmy - our people from Memphis - on Conti Street at the start of the Krewe du Boo parade.

"Really," Jimmy told me, "all I know about goths I learned from Goth Talk on Saturday Night Live."

"That's really all there is to know," I assured him.

We flung beads at the unenthusiastic masses, then went to the Dervish for the afterparty. Good tunes, and fun hanging out with my people. JImmy and Olga and I watched some chick get the crap smacked out of her by some hulking leather freak, but the bouncer broke that up pretty fast.

About four or so Sunday morning we were heading back to the car when we passed Cafe du Monde.

"Beignets?" Lark suggested.

"Fuck the beignets," Sonya said, "let's go get breakfast!"

So we ended the night at La Peniche. Big fat burgers at four-thirty in the A.M.? Good idea!