Carnival Time

Yes, it’s that time again. As I’ve noted here before, Twelfth Night is traditionally observed on January 6th in New Orleans, but in other places it’s considered to begin at sundown on January 5th. I guess this relates to the old idea of holidays beginning the night before, like Christmas really seems to start on Christmas Eve, but it’s confusing to the modern mentality.

In any event, last night was the first time I’ve ever been invited to a Twelfth Night party on January 5th. It figures it would take a couple Hoosiers to pull a move like that; sadly, Jeff and Laura will soon be moving back to Indiana for a job opportunity that was too good to resist. We wish them well. We went in costume, of course, and had a good time. I felt like we were getting a jump on the rest of the city, though we had to make a relatively early departure so as not to keep our daughter up too too late. An unplanned theme emerged at the party — the color green. Lou from Denver was serving up a scalding and delicious chili verde, and not one but two of the ladies were dressed as green fairies, and so of course we had to drink a little absinthe.

Now that Carnival is officially here, it’s worth noting that it will be a long season — just about as long as possible. Why? Well, as we all know, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the March equinox. That puts Easter on the 24th of April this year. (April 25 is the last mathematically possible date for Easter to land on, so this is very late indeed.) Of course, Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter, so this year it falls on March 9, which means Mardi Gras in March 8. That will be the latest Mardi Gras I’ve ever seen, but I’m certainly hoping to be around in 2038 when Mardi Gras will fall on March 9, the last possible day.

Since the beginning of Carnival is fixed but the end moves, the season can be short or long. It’s like an accordion, expanding and contracting over the years. The response is predictable. During short seasons, we hear people complaining that it’s all going by too quickly. During long seasons, people complain that it’s dragging on too long. Don’t fall into this trap! The variability of Mardi Gras and the Carnival season is a wonderful thing. Embrace it. Celebrate, don’t denigrate. Consider the implications of a convenient, modern, fixed date. The only way this would work is if Easter became a fixed feast rather than a moveable feast, which would mean disregarding the moon entirely. I’m sure some people would like that very much, but the very idea makes me retch. Don’t fall prey to this insidious anti-Lunarism. When a weary fellow paradegoer complains about the long Carnival season, haul off and punch that person right in the face. Strike a blow for the moon.

Happy Carnival, everyone.

Summer Is a-Coming In

We had a little party. For Beltane and May Day. I didn’t send out engraved invitations, only announced it via Twitter.

What is this day, anyway? A cross-quarter day, Beltane falls halfway between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. Some folks mark it as the beginning of summer, which makes sense to me.

We had a total of six guests, so it was perhaps the smallest such party we’ve ever thrown, but also one of the most enjoyable. In attendance were: Michael H., Brother O’Mara, Caitlin and her friend Randy, and a little later DJ and Lala.

And of course also P. & Xy & yours truly. So nine all told, including hosts. A nice number.

We drank a pitcher of Limoncello Collins, and numerous other drinks were consumed. (Most notably a quantity of Luxardo Amaro Abano.) We fired up the grill and cooked sausages and burgers. We oiled up the blades and shaved my head — just the underneath parts, still keeping it long on top for now. No one else was up for a shave, alas.

And we talked and talked and talked, about religion and politics and the apocalyptic unfoldings in the Gulf of Mexico. It was more than interesting to hear the perspectives of an African-American from New Jersey on the racial politics here in the Deepest South. By the same token, I was glad when DJ showed up, a friend who is also a native to the city and a person of color, who is progressive and intelligent and who (in a nutshell) represents everything the world thinks we’re not. It was cool those guys got to meet each other, especially since they are both teaching in the public schools.

I didn’t take any pictures or record any songs or create any great works of art out of this event. But I enjoyed it a great deal, so much that I’m already imagining what it might be like to do it again next year.

It certainly feels like summer’s coming in. It’s hot and sticky and after three days of overcast turbulence it’s finally raining. I can only hope it gets our grass growing to cover up the bare patches that have begun to appear over the last month.

Samedi Blues

Baron Samedi (encre et crayons de couleurs)

Baron Samedi (encre et crayons de couleurs) by Cecily Devil / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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.

Ocular Emergency

Friday night my daughter stabbed me in the eye. Not intentionally — she was just waving her arm around. Her little finger somehow got past my glasses, and her nail sliced right across my cornea. When she realized I was in pain she gave me a kiss. Very sweet.

It was pretty painful, but I thought I could tough it out. Xy gave me some ibuprofen. After I got the girl to sleep I started baking gingerbread biscuits for our party the next day. I was cutting them into triangular shapes with a raisin in the center which I thought looked festive and vaguely mystical.

Then, about halfway through the process, the pain in my eye flared up like I couldn’t believe. I don’t know what brought it on. It was just after I had a whiskey sour, and I briefly entertained the fantastic notion that the lemon juice had entered my bloodstream and was now irritating the wound on my eyeball. I was operating with one eye shut and somehow managed to finish the last batches of gingerbread before collapsing for the night.

Lying in bed with both eyes shut, things didn’t seem so bad. But when I got up the next morning I discovered the pain was much, much worse. I was essentially unable to do anything, unable to function. I can’t really think when I’ve felt such pain before. Certainly breaking my toe was no comparison. I was crying like a baby. And here we had a few dozen people coming over in a few hours. Yikes.

Xy drove me to a local hospital and soon I was being admitted to the emergency room. They gave me an eyechart test, which I passed. Then they put a few drops of proxymetacaine (Alcaine) in my eye and within a minute or so I was back to 99% normal. It was like a miracle, a “whole new world” as the doctor put it. This sort of topical anesthetic wasn’t readily available some years ago, so there was little relief for a scratched cornea. As it was I involuntarily laughed out loud, the relief was so sudden and profound.

They squirted some fluorescein (a fluorescent dye) in my eye and looked at it under a black light. Yup, a perfect scratch right across the cornea.

Unfortunately proxymetacaine only lasts about ten or fifteen minutes. Repeated dosing is not advisable because of side effects. So they gave me some ketrolac (Acular) which lasts longer. Alas, I found this to be not quite so effective as the proxymetacaine. Instead of 99% relief it was more like 50%. They gave me some hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin) to get me over the hump.

Funny thing about the ketrolac. The doctor (who shall remain anonymous) said that according to regulations he was supposed to give me a couple drops and then throw the $50 bottle away and write me a prescription. He thought that was crazy and I had to agree. So instead he slipped me the bottle, an act which I gather could cost him his job. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken.

I was now able to function. My friend James gave me a ride back home. I got to mulling the glögg and icing the gingerbread. We put out blue cheese, almonds and raisins, all of which are traditionally served with glögg in Sweden.

Soon our friends and neighbors were coming by and we had a wonderful party. We received many special gifts, for which we are extremely thankful. I couldn’t begin to list them all here, but I thought Bob R.’s deserved to be cited. He and his wife brought a bag with a loaf of bread, a nice bottle of red wine and some Mediterranean sea salt. I was puzzled until I read the card. Mot only did it have a picture of our house on the front, it contained a quotation from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life which, given the time of year and the circumstance, just seemed so perfect.

George and Mary give the Martinis bread, salt and wine.

Mary to Mrs. Martini: “Bread that this house may never know hunger.”
Mary to Mrs. Martini: “Salt that life may always have flavor.”
George to the Martinis: “And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever. Enter the Martini castle.”

Many thanks to everybody.

We even had people coming from out of town for this party — Jenny and Herb and the kids. After the party the boys watched the game while the girls went to Celebration in the Oaks. Leroy eventually decided, way too late, that he wanted to go with the girls. He wasn’t into the game. “Can we watch a different movie now?” Eventually he suffered an extended meltdown which seemed to parallel end of the Saints’ undefeated season. Something of an anticlimactic end to the day but it sure beat the way it started.

As for my eye? As of Monday morning it’s almost back to normal, and I’m off the ketrolac entirely.

Block Party

Our girl had her best sleep in a long while last night, but we sure didn’t. A bunch of guys decided to have a party in front of the abandoned house across the street, starting around 1:00 AM. They were drinking beer, listening to corridos, and generally laughing and hollering and carrying on. They were quite loud, and the music was louder. Somehow I slept through a couple hours of this. Or rather, I was half asleep, vaguely aware of the noise but still more or less zonked. Xy on the other had was suffering through a migraine and unable to sleep. Debra came out and asked the guys to quiet down, but they just laughed at her. Around 3:00 AM I woke up fully to make Persephone a bottle and took stock of the situation. Even with our windows closed (a shame on such a nice night) the noise level in our bedroom was way too high.

So I called the cops. Just as I did so, the party seemed to break up, so I told them to forget about it. Yet over the next hour the party reformed and broke up and reformed yet again. What the hell was happening out there? It was less loud now, but still enough to keep me awake. And then the final insult: the sound of breaking glass, as beer bottles were chucked against the steps of the abandoned house. How incredibly disrespectful. We’ve got more kids playing in our neighborhood than ever — and you’re busting bottles?

Broken Bottle [detail]

Thus I ended up calling the cops again, around 4:00 AM. I told them if a cruiser were just to pass by and flash its lights, that would probably be sufficient to break the party up for good. I don’t know if they actually came or not. I was too busy getting back to sleep.

One thing I want to make clear. I don’t relish calling NOPD on my neighbors. (I’m assuming these guys live nearby.) In fact, I hate it. I’d rather deal with people directly. But let’s be real. Even if I had the balls to go out in the middle of the night and confront a group of drunken guys on the street, the fact remains that we don’t even speak the same language, so I don’t really think we’d have a meeting of the minds.

If I could directly address these guys, here’s what I would have said: “As much as I hate calling the cops, you should hate it even more, because you never know what you’re going to get. The situation could get very ugly and out of hand, and people could get seriously hurt. But as far as I’m concerned you’re leaving me no other option, except suffering in silence, and that’s something I won’t do. I don’t mind people drinking beer on the street in the middle of the night. I really don’t — so long as you’re not bothering me. But if you are going to be so blatantly disrespectful to the neighborhood, then you’ve sacrificed any such tolerance on the altar of your own stupidity, and frankly I no longer care if you get chewed up by the prison-industrial complex. So how about you pipe the fuck down or go home?”

We love our little corner of Mid-City. We were just remarking yesterday afternoon how seeing black and white and Latino kids playing together was very sweet. But still, my only regret is not calling the cops earlier.

Strangely enough I’m feeling chipper today despite the lack of a good night’s rest. I think I’m on the upswing from whatever virus I was battling. Xy on the other hand went to school puking, and came home early. I hope she feels better soon.

That Was Fun

Parties are strange affairs. People gathering together for no other purpose than to celebrate life and enjoy each other’s company. What an ephemeral proposition! And also how wonderful. It’s almost enough to make one suspect that gross material possessions are not the most important things in life. Hmm.

We had a great party here yesterday. I expected between 50 and 100 people, and I think we we were somewhere in that zone, with people coming and going all day. We killed the keg (a small but delicious keg of Flying Dog “In Heat Wheat”) which made me happy. We ate all the jambalaya, both veggie and meaty, and I made a lot. We enjoyed a fun set of acoustic bluesy songs from Herbie Jo Johnson aka Herb Reith. Despite our protestations to the contrary, Persephone did receive a couple of amazing, unique, original gifts, which I’m sure she will come to treasure. More about those later. Plenty of people brought food and drink, all of which were gratefully consumed. We had not one but two doberge cakes. Why two cakes? Because there were actually two birthday girls. It turns out Piggy, the girl who stays across the street sometimes, was born on the exact same day as Persephone.

Persephone’s grandparents got their first taste of Carnival madness with the biggest krewe of all, the gaudy proposition known as Endymion. There was much curiosity as to when exactly the parade would reach us. For future reference I will relay what Carmen so diligently reported to me: Grand Marshal Kid Rock crossed Salcedo Street at precisely 5:55 PM. Next year we’ll have a pool. I asked Mom what she thought of the parade, and her reply was amusingly frank: “There were a lot of delays.” Which I gather was true, though I only left the house once to gaze at the stupefying spectacle, when Xy was exhausted, and I held Persephone up to admire the passage of I think one float before she fell asleep in my arms. Dad came back to the house a couple times to refresh himself, but I believe Mom took in the entire parade without a break. And that is one long-ass parade.

Probably the funniest thing, to me, was when Gerry came in the front door, quite late in the game, and started hollering at me down the hall. I haven’t seen Gerry in years and I didn’t recognize him at first. He yelled something about “penis reconstruction dot com!” which was an arcane reference to a court case I helped him with years ago, but I didn’t key in on it. All I could think was, “Oh sweet Jesus, some lunatic has wandered in off the street and he’s going whip out a razor and castrate us all.” But it wasn’t a lunatic, it was Gerry and his wife Carmen (not to be confused with the other Carmen mentioned above) who were our very first neighbors, in the Warehouse District, when we moved to New Orleans ten years ago. So cool to see them again. And it turns out their daughter Raquel is born on the same day as Persephone. She was just celebrating her sweet sixteen. And to think she was seven when I first met her.

I was too busy playing host to take very many pictures. But other cameras were more active. For example, here’s a photo from the fearsome lens of Howie Luvzus:

Ray & Seph

And this photo (also by Howie) really captures the spirit of the big parade:

Endymion 2009

Well done, Howie.

If you were here and took pictures, I encourage you to share them by any means convenient, Flickr, Facebook, e-mail. We’d love to see them.

Also: Nobody puked. It was a good party.

Her First Halloween Party

They had a Halloween party at our daycare. Besides seeing all the kids in their costumes, one of the highlights was a ride around the block in the six-seater buggy. That’s our girl up front wearing the Crown Royal bag.

Riding

I hope to complete her costume with a little crown by the time Halloween actually gets here.

There’s a few more photos in this here Flickr set.

A Party on Our Street

As I type this, I am under sonic assault. It is 8:15 PM on a Sunday night, and we are entering the fifth hour of high volume party jams from a DJ down on the corner. Sitting in my house, I can hear every beat and every word, even with the doors and windows closed — but the weather’s too nice to keep the windows closed.

Somebody’s grandma died. Some of the party-goers are decked out in “dead man shirts” commemorating their matriarch. This is a big street party in her honor. Lot of folks from the Fischer, or so I gather.

Apparently grandma was heavily into old school New Orleans bounce. Or maybe that’s just the DJ. I’ve got to say on a purely technical level I am mighty impressed by the power of his setup. I mean it is loud and clear, no distortion.

The party got started around 3:30. I caught these lyrics:

So eat this black music and tell me how it taste now?
And fuck Jesse Jackson cause it ain’t about race now.

That’s the Game, in case you didn’t know. Those lyrics really confuse me. If it ain’t about race then why did Mr. Game just label his music racially? But maybe I’m putting too much science on this.

Oops — It’s 8:20 PM and the music has stopped. That’s five hours almost on the dot. Xy predicted they’d shut down at 9:00.

I’d say our block sees an event like this about once a year. They always end before it gets too late. I appreciate that.

I regard such parties as a sacred ritual of sorts, especially with Grandma’s passing. Given the sheer volume of the event, we’re kind of forced to become part of the ritual. Our heads are in the party whether we want to be or not. My only objection is that, under the circumstances, y’all could at least offer up some of that good-smelling BBQ. We didn’t know the dearly departed, but we’re hungry too. Maybe share some drinks while you’re at it. Is that so much to ask?

Shower

We hosted a baby shower today for our friends DJ & Daisy.

Painting Begins

I think this is the fourth or fifth shower we’ve hosted in this house. Showers are weird to host because the guests are friends of the pregnant party and may be unknown to you.

But they can still be fun. Especially with the help of that powerful rum punch DJ whipped up.

DJ & Daisy are house-hunting. They just made an offer on a newly renovated shotgun, two blocks from our house. I hope it works out; they’d be a great addition to the neighborhood. Their real estate agent, Shannon Sharpe Briand, was also our real estate agent, and was also in attendance at today’s party, and is also pregnant. A lot of that going around.

Of course, no event at our house would be complete without a pratfall from Xy.

Xy's Folly

Her First Party

Persephone had her first social outing today.

Derby Party

I didn’t even know there was a Louisiana Derby but apparently there is. So we went to a party at the home of Sue, Steve and Sebastian, who live near the track.

We didn’t go to the race itself, but the party was fun. There were lots of Bloody Marys and mimosas and homemade sausage.

For this, I blew off my monthly book club. I guess parenting does entail sacrifices.

PS: Today was her “official” due date.

Samedi

Well, we did it. For a while I didn’t think we would be able to pull it off. First there was my sprained ankle. Then Xy came down with a cold. Then I came down with some kinda low-grade sore-throat thing. I was very close to canceling.

But in the end it all came together. We had a big old party yesterday to celebrate three things:

  1. the return of Endymion to Mid-City,
  2. the completion of our flood renovation, and
  3. the impending birth of our child.

We had a keg of Andygator, I made a bunch of jambalaya, Xy made her famous salsa and her patented Midwestern Cheeseball, and we had a spectacular set of live music from Kilowatt Rising. The Times-Picayune even sent a photographer.

Endymion is the biggest, longest, gaudiest superkrewe of the Carnival season. It’s noted for being the first of the “new breed” of more egalitarian parading clubs. It’s also the only giant parade that doesn’t adhere to some variation of the Uptown route.

As I said three years ago (the last time we were able to have this party):

I’m not a diehard parade-goer or a big Endymion fan, but I love the festive atmosphere surrounding the event.

Yesterday bore that out more than ever. This is the first time Endymion has been allowed to parade in Mid-City since the flood of ’05. How significant is this to the hearts and minds of Mid-City residents? Well, the New York Times wrote story about it. (I like how they call Mid-City “decidedly nontouristy.”) And I can personally testify that many of my neighbors have been surprisingly passionate about the issue.

So all across Mid-City yesterday people were having parties, and party-goers were making the rounds from one scene to another all day long. To me that’s the appeal of this day. Other parades have more beautiful floats or clever and satirical themes. Hell, I didn’t even hobble out of the house to take a look at Endymion. But I’m glad to have ’em back all the same.

And man, it’s a big parade. (For future reference I wanted to note that Endymion started at 4:15 but didn’t cross our street until approximately two hours later. It took two or three hours to completely pass by.)

Why do we even have parties? I’m not sure, but there’s some deep impulse to gather your friends together and celebrate, and I’m a sucker for that.

Speaking of suckers, my friend Rebecca is working on a new tradition: She’s gotten puking drunk at all three of our Endymion parties so far. I think I’ll get her a bucket next year.

A Birthday Party

A friend of mine celebrated her first birthday today. (Yes, I’m also friends with her mother, but after watching the girl bury her face in cake I feel a special bond.) What was really amazing to me was how many people showed up for the event with kids the same age in tow. There must have been six or seven infants and toddlers there, and three pregnant women as well. That was heartening, because I realize that if we are to be new parents in post-Katrina New Orleans we’re going to need all the help and support we can get. Just knowing we are not alone is helpful.

Endymion Returns

To the relief of everyone Uptown, Endymion is coming back to Mid-City in 2008. Therefore I imagine we’ll be having our annual Samedi Gras party, where you can experience a totally different side of Endymion, far from the madding crowds of Upper Mid-City. Hopefully our renovation will be complete by then. The question is, what musical entertainment will we have? If you’re interested in rocking our house, let me know. We can’t pay you, but we’ll have beer. It’s OK if you’ve never played out before; in fact it might be preferable. After all we hosted the world premiere of Phantasmagore a few years ago and we all know how well that went. Rabbit Hatch played the year after that and actually made it through their whole set. Applicants may be subject to an audition, especially if I don’t know you very well. I prefer quirky weird music. An improvisational bongo/sitar combo might be ideal. Also, I should forewarn that although we have a lot of rooms, none of them are ideal for playing music. Also, my pregnant wife will be at eight months by then and she could put the kybosh on the whole thing at any moment.

A Nite on the Town

Last night I went to a party for a friend’s 40th birthday. There was a giant screen in the yard upon which were projected videos from the early days of MTV. It was also a karaoke system. I’ve always been skeptical of karaoke as a concept, but come to think of it I don’t think I’ve ever really seen full-blown karaoke action until last night. It was actually a lot of fun — to watch. I didn’t give it a try myself, though I might have if I’d stuck around longer.

As it was, I headed out to the Circle Bar to see Bloomington’s own Early Day Miners. Great show. Afterwards I helped the band load their equipment up to their hotel nearby. We ended up back at the Circle Bar where a guy from Detroit named Lester struck up a conversation with me. We had an interesting talk, but it kind of bummed me out when he asked me for money. Was the whole conversation just a hustle? I probably should have gone home then, as it was around 2:00 AM, but instead I accompanied the band uptown to St. Joe’s in search of a good mojito. They do mix ’em good there. Afterward we stopped at The Saint for a last round, and I got home around 5:30.

Despite downing quite a few drinks over the course of the evening, I wasn’t too hungover today, but I took it easy nonetheless, napping and doing the crossword and really not worrying about anything, which was a nice change of pace.

Xy, on the other hand, has plenty to worry about because Monday is the first day of school. I took Friday off to help get her classroom set up.

As long as I’m catching up on recent events, I should mention that Friday was also the last day for my boss at work. By now I expect he’s well on his way up to the Great White North. He will be missed.

On Thursday we presented him with a gift of a pair of steel-toed Wolverine work boots, which he’ll surely need for the vast acreage he’s purchased up there.

On Wednesday he and I went out for lunch at Coop’s Place and then checked out the new exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection, which is titled “City of Hope.” Fascinating stuff, and I highly recommend it. It doesn’t leave one feeling very hopeful, however. The exhibit provides historical context for the Katrina disaster. After taking it all in, I couldn’t help but wonder. We seem stuck in the third world here — could it be because we’re always recovering from disaster?

Fiesta de Bebe

Today Xy and I hosted a baby shower for one of our new neighbors. She and most of the guests are Honduran.

It might seem ironic, hosting a baby shower, given what happened Wednesday, but actually Xy offered to host the event before she even knew she was pregnant.

Girls in the Front

The event itself was interesting. It’s always interesting, in an extremely boring way, to be the only person who doesn’t speak the language. It brought back memories — of living in Sweden, and of a few evenings here in New Orleans, years ago.

Boys in the Back

A Disappointing Reunion

We got a call from Crystal, one of the girls who used to live across the street from us. She is now living in Houston. She was in town for the weekend, and wanted to visit. Xy has been missing the girls, and so she was pretty excited about the reunion.

Yet, somehow, it wasn’t much fun.

Pizza Party

For one thing, it turned out that Donika and Danielle and Willanita were not in town after all — only Crystal. She brought along a bunch of her friends, most of whom we didn’t know. There ended up being eight people in their party, including two infants; I don’t know how Xy fit them all in her car. It was pretty chaotic. Crystal herself was preoccupied with other stuff, like retrieving some possessions from her flooded home, and visiting with other people. She hardly had time to exchange two words with Xy. But ain’t that just like a teenager?

Bartender B

Last night I tended bar at a party for about 20 minutes, having been conscripted by the host. I thought that was noteworthy since I’ve produced a television series, ostensibly about mixed drinks, for over a dozen years now, but I’ve never tended bar before.

It was fun. And not nearly as hard as Bartender J makes it look.

The party was a blast. The Endymio-Rama, it was called. Rotary Downs rocked, food and drink was in generous supply, and the people were beautiful. Especially the guy from New York in the homemade spacesuit.

After the Party

The party was fun. We actually drained the keg, which made me happy. PJ & Gina showed up with instruments and jammed in the living room, which made me even happier. All the gumbo and the vegan okra stew and the guac got eaten, though we still have a bunch of salsa. Many friends came by, and I met many new people from out of town, including a contingent from Austin and a guy with an anarchist marching band from Brooklyn.

I realized after the fact that my last post may not have made a lot of sense to people outside New Orleans. In recent years, all the big parades of Carnival season have consolidated on to more or lesss the same route. There are variations, but they all basically start Uptown and move down St. Charles Avenue to Canal Street. Even the Krewe of Mid-Cty doesn’t parade in Mid-City (where we live) anymore.

In fact, there’s only one krewe let that still rolls through Mid-City, and that’s the biggest one of all: Endymion. It is a massive, gaudy spectacle.

Endymion

I’m not a diehard parade-goer or a big Endymion fan, but I love the festive atmosphere surrounding the event. This year I even got out of the house for a little bit to see some of the parade. I posted a set of pix to Flickr.

I had a good time at the party — a little too good. Had a little too much to drink, woke up Sunday morning with a mild hangover, I slept it off, and by 10:30 or so I felt almost normal. I’d wanted to go see the Krewe of Thoth Sunday morning, but I didn’t feel up to it. We spent most of the day cleaning up the mess. Our house is actually cleaner now than it’s been in a long time.

Preparations

Xy’s making her famous salsa:

Salsa

It’s so good it’s actually been featured on television. So what’s she making such a big batch for? No, it’s not the fucking Super Bowl. It’s Samedi Gras — Fat Saturday.

Granted, the real Samedi Gras action is up on Orleans Avenue in Parkview. We drove past tonight and observed people camped out on the neutral ground there, and on Carrollton, and even on Canal. That’s just plain crazy. Who wants to wait all night in the cold just to see a parade?

But we’re having our own Samedi Gras party right in here in the middle of Mid-City. That’s why Xy’s making her salsa. That’s why I got a keg of Andy Gator. I’ll be making a massive quantity of gumbo tomorrow.

All readers of this blog should consider themselves invited. Doors open at 2:00 pm and festivities continue until whenever. Need directions? Just ask.