The parade started out innocently enough, having partially loaded in on Friday to get a head start, and, while many respected the new rule about keeping the neutral ground clear at the outset, plenty others jumped the barricades and enjoyed the fun — not learning until later what had happened further down.
We will share information as we get it, and also add more photos later.
I’ll have more fleshed-out thoughts on the massive, unnecessarily reworked Endymion parade — with its 50th anniversary theme, “Endymion Through the Years” — when the brain is less foggy, but until then, here’s what I wrote on Facebook, along with some fun photos:
So in a sense I’m a big fat Endymion hypocrite, partly cuz in the before times I never went, but more recently because of my disdain for whatever happened between NOPD and Ed Muniz that resulted in the bone-headed decision to close off the neutral ground at the load-up zone — which made watching Endymion so fun. Putting aside anger, I did the unlikely and staked out a pretty great spot in front of Delgado, with good friend Todd Price. And then suddenly, Mardi Gras happened: Met an incredibly cool and gracious guy next to our spot who offered to share his spot with us, offered Eli a morning water bottle (he’d been there since 7:30 a.m. setting up), and we wound up having some mutual acquaintances and talked about WYES and the great Aislinn Hinyup, who showed up later. And then we welcomed friends to our tarp area, and because we’d staked out so much space, invited a family with a bunch of kids to join us to our right so they could catch throws (and a couple of teen sisters to our left).
And on the way home I recognized a man grilling oysters who I’d interviewed at French Quarter Festival. And then of course awesome gumbo afterward courtesy Todd. Yes, Endymion is bloated and ridiculous and over-grown and not really my cup of tea, but Eli got tons of throws, Faith Dawson Simmons got to enjoy her favorite parade with her mom Adonicia Dawson, and for at least a few hours made new friends over fiber-optic floats and crazy throws and a few Parish Canebrakes. That, for me, is Mardi Gras.