February 3rd, 2005

romance, flower

Happy Are They Whom The Muses Love

Mardi Gras parades that are exclusively female have a reputation for being stingy, skimpy, chintzy and cheap with the throws. The goal when you are a rider is to toss every single item off the float that you brought on at the beginning of the parade. The ladies' parades tend to take a different view. I know of several women who always have lots of beads to unload back into their cars when their parades are over because they want to save some for next year. This is not the way to endear yourself to the trinket-loving public. Since my teen-age years, my friends and I always avoid the ladies' parades. We know they are a waste of time because we rarely catch anything. (But even ladies' parades are more fun than the Tournament of Roses or Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. As a kid, I was so disappointed that all they did was wave at people from the floats. No beads? No doubloons? Well, that's just not a real parade.)

The Krewe of Muses is an all-female group that knows how to throw - beads and parties. They are by far the best female krewe, and while not a super parade like Bacchus or Endymion, they are definitely one of the city's best after being in existence for five years. They have an irreverent and funky approach to Mardi Gras that's a very refreshing change from the other stodgy and dull ladies' groups.

The whole evening was a blast but the highlight for me was when Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos gave me a Muses emblem necklace. I know it sounds lame but it's pretty cool to me that Mardi Gras allows you to walk right up to a famous person you like and be acknowledged in such an unconventional way. I actually ran up yelling, "Jane! Jane!" to get her attention and when she saw me, she smiled and handed me the string of beads. (Last year, I caught a Bacchus emblem necklace thrown by Elijah Wood who was the king of the parade. He threw it right to me.)

Our whole group caught lots of "signature items" which is the term we all learned last night meaning throws with krewe's name on it. And as my sister-in-law said at the end of the evening, "We all made out like fat rats." We all walked away from the parade loaded down with pounds (literally) of beads and other trinkets including: Barbie-like dolls dressed up in costumes like the krewe, bracelets and necklaces laden with mini pink plastic high-heeled pumps, fiber optic bracelets and pins, stuffed animals and sets of cosmetic brushes.

In addition to the floats and throws, the other key part of a parade is the music. Local middle and high school bands march in the parades and they aren't playing Sousa. They play lots of disco and recent popular songs. The crowd boogies away the time between floats while admiring the dancers and flag teams marching with the bands. There are also independent small bands and dance teams that march so there is always something going on to keep the parade-goers entertained.

"Happy are they whom the Muses love." Hesiod

(I wish I had pictures but my useless piece of crap - otherwise known as my digital camera - died right before the parade. A friend of ours got some great photos and when he e-mails them I will post them pronto.)