Monday, March 9, 2009

Mardi Gras - J in the Orpheus Parade

The main reason we got a sitter and came to New Orleans for Mardi Gras was for business. Jason had been asked to participate in a float by one of his clients. This was not something that was ever on my "To Do List". As many of you know Jason always finds those once in a lifetime experiences and who was I to deny this one. My favorite so far was riding in the blimp but that is another story for another day. This client is part of the Orpheus Krewe. I know that doesn't make much sense to many of you because we had no idea what that meant. Every Parade is put on by an organization. Each group has its Krewe. These are mini society's with their own rules and hierarchy. They don't compete with each other but there is a true pride in your own affiliation. We learned that Orpheus is one of the younger Krewe's and Parades. It is always on Mardi Lundi and is considered to be a very clean and family based parade. We found that to be true. I even met a person on the street that was hoping to get invited to join the Krewe this year. It is a lot of work and an honor at the same time.
We got to join in this world for a short time. Before the invitations we had no idea this world existed but enjoyed our experience so much. People were so shocked that J was getting to ride without ever having been to a parade before. We thought that is wasn't a big deal. To our surprise and delight we learned that it is a huge deal.
On Sunday night we were invited to enjoy another parade from a balcony.
Many members of the Krewe were there. Some had special name tags that pointed out their positions. I was surprised to learn that many Krewe's hold elections in May and then start preparing for the next year that early. I was nearly run over by REX at one point. The limo pushed every one out of the way and the sign on the side said "REX inside" . Apparently this was big?? Still not sure about who REX was but I saw him.
Anyway it was a blast watching a parade from this vantage point. We went inside and danced the night away. Well not too late because J needed to report in early to get his costume for the parade.
This is where we need to thank Mr. Amato again. He and his family are who helped us when the hurricane hit last summer with the generator. Well Arthur is from the area and he coached Jason from the beginning. We were able to avoid some major social boo-boos because Arthur and his wife met us and gave us much advice. Arthur even showed up before the parade to catch these shots of Jason. He also stood with him as he waited for the parade to begin.

Thank you Arthur for those wonderful pictures of J.
I loved finding my spot and waiting for Jason's float to go by. I was all by myself with my dress neatly packed in my back pack. I found a spot near this tree. I love how all the beads decorated the trees up and down this block. It was here that I found a very nice family. They let me join them in the spot they had saved all day. They also helped me to flag down Jason when he went by. I found the people of this town to be so nice and kind. (As long as you avoided the drunk crowds of Bourbon St.) I felt very safe watching the parade and then walking to the convention center from the Ritz by myself. I have been told that I would not have felt that safe if it were not Mardi Gras Season. (Yes it is more than a day to these people it is any entire season. It falls between the Christmas Season and the Lent/Easter Season.)
This parade had a bit of the past with this horse drawn carriage. So beautiful!
I loved all the colors everywhere!

Look at all those lights.
The floats were so beautiful. Too big to get good pictures of them. I can see how going to parade after parade can be so exciting.

It is hard to see Jason but that is the only picture I got of him on the float throwing beads. A groups of strangers helped me get his attention and I felt like a teenager in love when he finally saw me, pointed to me, smiled and threw me a strand of beads. This was taken inside of the ball room. All the floats came in and circled the ball and it was crazy but so much fun! J wasn't allowed to remove the mask outside at all.

The Ball Room was set up to look incredible. I have never seen anything so big. The Ball was out of this world. People everywhere dressed in red carpet gowns. WOW! Words can not describe this event.

I felt like a complete princess trying to get to the ball. I was running and trying to cross over the parade route (this is about the only thing they will arrest you for!) I had watched the parade and then ran to the convention center. I needed to change and be ready before J's float arrived. I snuck into a bathroom and the transformation began. I must say that it felt like I was in a fairy tale just waiting for my Prince to show up. It felt Magical! I stole these words from the Krewe of Orpheus site.

Experience a side of Mardi Gras seldom seen by New Orleanians or visitors, and join us for the Orpheuscapade!

This black tie event begins with live music and dancing until the magic moment
when the gigantic floats arrive. As the entire parade rolls through the
Convention center, guests are showered with beads, doubloons, and other throws
that fly fast and furious from the magnificent floats.

This was my favorite performer for the evening Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts Band.
Josh Gracin performing in this picture.

I would have danced more if my feet had not hurt so much after 3 days of walking for miles, dancing the nights away and jumping up and down for beads as the parades went by.
As many of you know I turned the big 4-0 on Mardi Gras Day this year. I will never forget where I was on Mardi Lundi of this year as the clock turned midnight and a new day began. At the very start of Mardi Gras day, and my 40Th birthday, I was standing behind the stage of this huge event. There were thousands of people all around me celebrating. My honey pulled me in for a kiss and I felt like a true princess. It was a fabulous way to enjoy a milestone in my life. Thanks J for the wonderful weekend.

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