Looking back, I realize we had only four Samedi Gras parties at our old house. It seems like more, because we lived there for seven years. Plus, we always did it up big. A keg of beer. Serious home-cooked food — usually jambalaya, though I think I made gumbo one year. And live music.
We bought that house in 2002, but Endymion was relocated Uptown in 2003 because of the (re)construction of the streetcar line on Canal. So, no party that year.
So we had our first party in 2004. As far as I know this was the first and last live performance by Phantasmagore.
Then we had one in 2005. Our special musical guest was Rabbit Hatch.
Skip a couple years, as Endymion was relocated Uptown again.
We were back on in 2008. I had a sprained ankle and Xy was just as pregnant as could be. Killowatt Rising played, a full-on electric rock band, and the party was showcased on the front cover of the Times-Picayune’s Inside Out.
I didn’t think anything could top that, but then we had our final party in 2009. We didn’t know it was the final party at the time. Still, it was very special. Herbie Jo Johnson provided the musical entertainment. My parents came down for their first Carnival ever. Best of all, our girl’s first birthday fell on the same date.
So at least we finished strong.
Now we’ve moved. We’re still in Mid-City, but everything is different. We’re no longer so close to the parade route. And we aren’t having a party this year.
What to do? I’m not really a fan of Endymion per se. I love the festive atmosphere the parade generates. It feels like the only time that Carnival comes to our neighborhood. but I’m not really into the parade itself. It is the biggest and gaudiest of the Carnival parades, but I don’t find its aesthetic compelling, and frankly if you’ve seen it once you’ve seen it a thousand times. That’s why I enjoyed having htat party every year. It gave me something to do instead of watching the parade.
I guess maybe we’ll make it to a couple of other people’s parties. And maybe my daughter will be excited by the parade.
The whole prospect has got me feeling sort of blue. The day seems to have a different character in different parts of Mid-City. Some of my neighbors have been discussing problems on Orleans Avenue that are positively hair-raising:
Now, I’m as eager as the next guy to celebrate the roll of Endymion, but this has escalated into a problem of mass proportions. The practice of parking cube vans in the area, filled with kegs and ice, has increased exponentially. These vans are often used as makeshift port-a-potties once empty. You don’t even want to know what that’s like. There are fights, there is property damage, there is urination on houses and in alleys. In a surprising twist last year, this element added a new level of public indecency: couples having sex both on the neutral ground on the night before and in the surrounding blocks the day of. I kid you not. This has not just gotten out of control. It’s a plague. If it’s not enough to just be pushed out of sitting on the parade route, this litany of offenses has mounted to unprecedented levels. Imagine Bourbon St without all the pesky laws and controls.
Back at our old place we didn’t have those issues. The crowds would be thinner but still substantial.
I am missing our old ‘hood a bit today.