AKA Abraham Bacoln

Proud to be one of the St. Anthony Ramblers
February 25, 2009, 9:54 pm
Filed under: tidbit

Where to start, where to start? Well, I’ll start here.

This is my fifth Mardi Gras (season) and not once have I ever really done anything on Mardi Gras day. You have to understand that there’s typically a week and a half of parades and insanity leading up to the big day itself, and it’s far too easy to get burned out and fast. As previously stated: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So yes, in years previous I have completely ignored Fat Tuesday and spent it inside being grateful that I was not at yet another parade.

This year since it was Casey’s first Mardi Gras I thought I’d break tradition and actually go do something on Mardi Gras day, maybe actually catch the Zulu and Rex parades (which while not technically the biggest parades are arguably the most important). Instead, our friend Jonah invited us to be part of the St. Anthony Ramblers.


Oh, wait, let’s back up. You know that there are a blue ton of people that dress up on Mardi Gras day and go out in public in their masks, right? And that it’s called ‘masking’? In case … you know, you couldn’t figure out what I was talking about. Anyway, yes, I have never masked for Mardi Gras day – see above re: not doing anything on Tuesday.

[I did not bring my camera because it has a tendency to get heavy and I knew we would be out for a few hours. Because of this I will be linking to the photos of others, not my own, and that’s fine by me. It was better to be unencumbered and enjoy the day – too often the taking of pictures removes me from the moment, and I decided to forego that extrication.]

So anyway the St. Anthony Ramblers are one of several groups who mask for Mardi Gras and go hold their own kind of parade. Several of the Mardi Gras day groups are small, several are big. Turns out the Ramblers eventually gather enough people to fill the street for an entire city block. That, in my opinion, is a big group. PLUS we had our very own band – Panorama. Their instruments are typical brass band, but they played not only Mardi Gras standards but also some klezmer tunes, and if you’ve never heard klezmer being played by a brass band then son, I don’t envy you.

There is nothing like a band being led by El Capitan flying our standard high to let people know that a parade is coming. Every single block we walked down had people lining the sidewalks to hear our delightful music and revel in the sights of our myriad costumes.

Speaking of costumes, here Casey and I are in ours – she with her sequined top, tutu, rhinestoned shoes and mask, and flowers; me with my black pants and shirt, black long-nosed mask, top hat, scarf, and calla lilies. Sorry you can’t see the lilies very well but since you know they’re there then you can use your imagination. This picture was taken at perhaps 9:45 in the morning. When you want to walk all over the Faubourg Marigny and the French Quarter you have to start early.

This shows you about a quarter of the people we started out with – and it only grew from there. You can see the two of us at the right of the SUV as we waited for everyone to show up. It probably goes without saying that as we marched we picked up people until we were so large that we easily filled the street for an entire city block.

Here is the route of the St. Anthony Ramblers – we started in the Marigny, walked to a bar, and stopped for 20-30 minutes. Then we walked to the next bar, and there stopped for 20-30 minutes. At this point you should be able to see a pattern. By the time we parted ways with the group it was 2:00PM and everyone was still going strong. Since Casey and I weren’t drinking (no, seriously, stop laughing, we weren’t drinking) we didn’t hang out the entire day. Who knows how long the whole thing went, actually? I haven’t talked to anyone yet today to find out when the party shut down.

All in all it was one hell of a way to spend Mardi Gras day. I had a pocket full of stars and moons that I handed out to various people along the route, which made them smile. I got to hear fantastic music. I got to be part of the spectacle instead of a spectator.

I will certainly be one of the St. Anthony Ramblers next year.

In closing, here are a few more pictures for your amusement:
Our king and Queen
El Capitan giving the Captain’s toast
Us occupying a whole block in front of the St. Louis Cathedral
Panorama playing
What the heck – one more shot of me in the crowd, mask off because I was too damn hot

… and in case you haven’t gotten enough yet, or aren’t jealous yet, here’s the whole St. Anthony Ramblers Flickr pool which will probably continue to be updated for a few days as people sober up and post their photos.

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