Samedi Blues Redux

March 5th, 2011 by Editor B

Baron Samedi (encre et crayons de couleurs) sold

Misery loves company, and this year I’ve got plenty.

To recap ever-so-briefly: Over the last few decades, all the big parades have been consolidated onto what’s now known as the “traditional uptown route” — except one, the biggest of ‘em all, the gaudy spectacle known as Endymion. It’s the one time the festive spirit of Carnival comes to Mid-City, and I love that. Back in our old house we threw some really fun parties on Samedi Gras, which is the day Endymion rolls. Now we live too far from the route to justify having a party, and yet paradoxically we’re now closer to the really crazy crowds which I personally don’t want to deal with, and besides I’m not really a fan of the parade itself. So last year I was singing the blues, and this year I was fixing to do the same. In fact I figured I’d just stay at home today and do my taxes. Seriously.

Friday I was surprised to learn Persephone’s daycare was closed, just in anticipation of the Endymion madness. Oops. I ended up having to take her to work with me, which was actually a lot of fun, but I digress. The point I’m trying to make is Endymion is a big deal to folks ’round here. How big? About a million people show up to see the parade. Yes, that’s right — a million people. Friday morning the earliest arrivals were camped out on the Orleans Avenue neutral ground, in the rain. Some had tents, some had umbrellas, some were just exposed to the elements. Yet Endymion doesn’t roll until Saturday afternoon.

Only it turns out this year Endymion won’t roll on Saturday — or in Mid-City. This rumor had been circulating for a couple days, but the official announcement came last night.

A few minutes ago, and with great regret, Endymion founder and Captain, Ed Muniz, announced that Endymion will parade Sunday night behind Bacchus. This decision comes after many hours of discussion with the NOPD and every weather person and service available.

The bottom line, gang, is that there is an 80% chance of heavy rain and storms, especially right at 4:00 PM. It’s just not safe, nor will it be comfortable, to go.

The good news is that we have secured marching bands and will have a great parade and fantastic weather for Sunday night. We are and will be working on details through the night so check your email often.

Though it will be smaller, the Extravaganza WILL have a parade! Train, Kelly Ripa, Anderson Cooper and Mark Consuelos will ride as Grand Marshalls and The Wise Guys, Train, Pat Benatar and Party on the Moon will perform as scheduled.

It breaks our hearts to make this decision, but based on the information that we have, we feel it is the only decision we can make.

It gives new meaning to Hail, Endymion!

Far be it from me to second-guess this decision. I’ve never even ridden in a parade, much less organized anything as big as a superkrewe. Nevertheless I have to point out that of the last nine years, Endymion has been shifted to the “traditional uptown route” four times. This situation makes no one happy, except perhaps law enforcement. Uptowners don’t want Endymion, and Mid-Citizens feel cheated.

Here’s a couple quotes from my neighborhood discussion group.

Why are the uptown parades not moved to mid city for Sunday instead? Given its the only one that rolls through mid city?

As long as this is NOT the start of the slippery slope toward a permanent move to the uptown route!

And some more choice quotes from nola.com.

BS!!! I will be boycotting endymion. It is completely unfair that uptown gets all the parades. It is a cash cow for all the businesses uptown and no others get to benefit from the parades. Spread the wealth.

we are just disappointed and are really logical people, however this is the only parade that rolls outside of uptown. If we had others we probably wouldn’t be to upset.

To our boys in Endymion: How very sad that instead of moving your parade later into the evening Saturday, when the weather may be better, you sold us out and moved Uptown. We are your faithful fans, who came back in 2006 to see you behind Bacchus, and rejoiced when you returned to your Mid-City home and hundreds of thousands of us. Our Mid-City businesses, the mom and pop businesses, the schools who sell food and bathroom passes, all of us willing to endure the worst that Mother Nature throws at us, counted on you to hang tough. Do right by us. And you didn’t. You have no idea the pain this causes, to our wallets, our still-struggling Mid-City. We would have sat through the deluge for you. 7. 8. 9 p.m. We would have waited. This is as hurtful than so many of us losing everything after Katrina. We had faith in you, boys. My God, you threw us under the floats…for an uptown ride. How sad, our boys of Endymion.

I’m not saying these people are right or wrong, but such comments indicate the level of passion some of my neighbors have. Me, I was planning to pull a “bah humbug” anyhow, so now I’m just glad for the company.

Baron Samedi (encre et crayons de couleurs) sold / cecily devil / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

7 Responses to “Samedi Blues Redux”

  1. dsb nola Says:

    “Mid-Citizen” = I like that! Is it a t-shirt yet?

  2. Anne Says:

    By all means, start a letter-writing campaign to Endymion telling them to stay firmly a Mid-City parade. I’ll write, too. Bacchus is enough of a strain on Uptown, and when followed by Endymion, which brings even more crowds for more hours, it’s impossible. I hate it when it’s Uptown. I can’t imagine why law enforcement agreed to this– it means that Endymion won’t hit downtown until the wee hours of the morning, which stretches out duty hours in crazy ways. Cops, deputies, firemen, EMS, etc. all get little enough sleep as it is during Carnival.

  3. rickngentilly Says:

    i wish yall had lived in the hood when they had the small parades go by the mid city route.

    i allways enjoyed them more than the super krewe.

  4. chrissieroux Says:

    Wow, a million people?
    I am not a huge fan of the Endymion spectacle but it seemed absolutely ridiculous and crappy of them to move it.

  5. Cousin Pat from Georgia Says:

    +1 for Mid-Citizen.

    I absolutely understand why they canceled the show on Saturday. When they had to make the call, there was no telling exactly when the storms would hit, how long they would last, or how severe they would be. The weather in New Orleans turned out for the best – the storms moved through quickly, produced only a small amount of street flooding, and didn’t do very much damage.

    This was the same weather system that destroyed Rayne, LA, and produced a tornado warning on the West Bank. Things could have been much worse, especially with a million people cramming around Mid-City with all the neutral ground debris that usually accompanies the Endymion Camps.

    And if Endymion has to roll on Sunday due to such a cancellation, it HAS to roll on the Uptown route. There is no way the city could handle Bacchus and Endymion rolling at the same time on different routes.

  6. Editor B Says:

    After what went down in Rayne I think it’s clear Endymion et al made the right call. A friend of mine from out of town was amazed by the overall sheer logistical efficiency of the operation.

    Nevertheless, my neighbor’s point stands. Why didn’t Bacchus move to Mid-City Sunday? When’s the last time you ever heard of any parade moving to Mid-City? Yet Endymion’s been displaced four out of the last nine years. I’m sure there are reasons for this. I just don’t know what they are.

  7. Cousin Pat from Georgia Says:

    That has mainly to do with logistics. There isn’t a single other day during Carnival with a Mid-City parade already planned, while the Uptown route is almost constantly parading.

    On Samedi Gras, you have smaller morning parades on the Uptown route. These parades are finished in Uptown before Endymion rolls. This leaves time for law enforcement, emergency response and cleanup crews to re-position to the Endymion route. Those parades are well clear of the Endymion route before Endymion even starts moving.

    But on Sunday, all your parades are on Uptown routes from 11am to possibly 8 or 9 pm. Thoth also rolls on an extended route, so you’ve already got your city assets staged to move from there to the Bacchus route in a short amount of time. NOLA doesn’t have the assets to cover a Mid-City parade at the same time as an Uptown parade.

    Then there’s the big problem – how can Endymion roll in Mid-City at the same time as Thoth or especially Baccus roll Uptown? Without perfect timing (at a Mardi Gras parade) the two parades “collide” on Canal Street. Not to mention an entire city shutdown of transportation due to the fact that parade routes would be rolling on several major thoroughfares at the same time.

    For these reasons it is easier for a parade to be suddenly rescheduled on the Uptown route rather than the Mid-City route, since the assets are already in place. It is far easier to extend someone’s shift than to move their position across the city during Carnival.

    The options, though they exist, aren’t great. Endymion could have rolled Sunday if Bacchus had postponed to roll on Monday, or maybe Endymion could have rolled Monday starting at 11am. The other option is to try and score a huge coup and upstage Rex on Tuesday, kicking off in Mid-City after that parade has gotten off Canal. I don’t see many of those options seriously available, however.

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