Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mardi Gras Madness

There's just something about New Orleans that makes you not want to leave. Maybe it's the classic streetcars that seem to take you back in time. Maybe it's the cafe au lait and beignets you had at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. Maybe it's the afternoon walks you took while observing the beautiful homes along St. Charles Street. For me, it's the community and spirit of the people of New Orleans. The people of New Orleans are different than anywhere else I've been. They're spirited and spicy, and make you wish you had been born there like them. They're artistic and creative, and think of outrageous costumes for Mardi Gras. Most importantly, they aren't afraid to be who they are. In fact, they flaunt it. They don't care what people think of them, and they're not afraid. Of anything. Even Hurricane Katrina, which would have washed away the spirits of people had that tragedy happened anywhere else in the country.  But not New Orleans. The people of NOLA are just as they always have been. Outspoken, original, and unafraid. Everyone there has a story, and they'd be more than willing to tell you. You usually don't even need to ask.  

Here are some select photos (in no particular order) from my most recent trip to NOLA for Mardi Gras over last week for spring break.

The Flambeaux are one of the most memorable parts of the night parades in Mardi Gras. They spin the fire on their poles, dance with it, and walk along the entire parade route.

Night parades are hard to shoot, but often have the coolest floats because of the lighting. My aunt and I ended up finding a prime spot along the parade route to view was obviously good because AP and news photographers were there both of the nights we were. Normally in the parades, the order is band, float, band, float, etc. We were at the start of the parade, and the bands would come in from the one side of the street, and after them, the floats from the other, and they would both converge on Napoleon Ave. to continue the parade. Pretty cool.

This photo is one of my favorites. It's one of those things where I don't really know why, and it's not even really exposed properly, but it really gives the feel for night parades in Mardi Gras with the crowd, confetti & lights.

The members of this krewe were actually getting in trouble by one of the directors in this photo. Apparently, one of the guys on the float had part of his costume removed and his face could be seen, which is something they're not supposed to do. The guy speaking up to the guys on the float was yelling at these guys to not let it happen again.

Most of the floats are two and sometimes three-tiered creations. Here, a band is playing below the Trojan horse and krewe members are throwing trinkets from the top.

Day parades are definitely a different atmosphere. Here are some from the weekend before Fat Tuesday.

Yes, people dress up their dogs. And even their...ponies?

This rider was really interesting looking. I ran up as soon as they were stopped, and then the little girl came up. So cute.

Then there's Bourbon Street. On Fat Tuesday. Yea, you can't even imagine. It was my first time in the Quarter for Fat Tuesday, because I had always been younger and we just hadn't gone. There were some unbelievably creative costumes, and some that I still don't know what they were trying to be. Lots of naked people, and surprisingly a lot of children. Bourbon Street, home of the brave.

Two from a gay costume competition on Bourbon in the afternoon. AMAZING costumes:

Goldilocks & The Three Bears

And then there's the other assorted non-Mardi-Gras photos.

I love the high ceilings in my aunt's house.

Locks are always a personal favorite. I photograph them wherever I go.

I'd never want to clean up the Mardi-Gras aftermath:

All photos are my personal property. Please ask before use of any purpose.