Muffin called it the circus until the parade started. I’m not sure if it’s because Centaur sounds like circus or because parades are supposed to be festive and so are circuses.
When the parade was over, he insisted that he had fun and liked the parade, especially the “train float.” Thank you, Krewe of Centaur for including a train float.
The day started well enough, but we had decided to wait to leave for the parade at 3 (because we left too early two years ago when we last went to the parade). Our plan was to park at WalMart, eat at the Subway there, and shop a bit before the parade. Until we got to the place we planned to turn only to discover that the streets were closed. At 3:30 (And the parade did not show up at that location, the end of the route, until 7). The parade itself didn’t start several miles away until 4:30.
So, we altered our plans a bit. We went down to the next side street and paid the Methodist church $5 for parking (to go to the youth ministry) and trekked with our bag and chair (and Muffin) to the end of the street (only to realize that we were close to Super 1. We decided to trek over there, but we ended up behind the barricade at the last turn (where there was still space). I was still surprised that the area behind the barricade was fairly empty.
Muffin played a bit while I went to track down food. Super 1 was closed! The wine and spirits part of Super 1 was open, but the grocery store itself was closed. Panic set in. Subway was out of the question (we were a mile or so from Walmart). Quizno’s in the same shopping center as Super 1 was closed.
I called Josh, and he said there was a Taco Bell down the street. At this point, I entered the “I no longer care as long as it is not alive when I eat it” mode. So, he and Muffin went to Taco Bell while I held down the fort.
We ate our Taco Bell but still had several hours to wait.
We met some very lovely people, a family from Texas and a man and his two sons who lived somewhere around the parade route. But there were some clear negatives. There were no public restrooms (portapotties or otherwise) nearby. Do you know how maddening it is to be in leaping distance of a porta-potty for hours and having to use the restroom so badly…and not be able to go?
Public drunkenness is to be expected. It is Mardi Gras, after all. While this isn’t the French Quarter, it is in the state boundary of Louisiana (barely), so raucousness is to be expected. I get that. But drunks who have to help other drunks stay on their feet? And who (in their right mind or otherwise) would risk public drunkenness with no restroom or porta-potty to use (either to relieve oneself or to be physically ill)?
Not I, said the grasshopper.
I think it’s important to be goal-oriented in many things. Including parade attendance. Our goal for the parade was to snatch up procure as many Mardi Gras cups as possible. I exaggerate only a smidgen when I say that in the first ten years of my life, I can remember NOT drinking from a Mardi Gras cup at home a handful of times. Mardi Gras cups are fine china.
Our goal was to also keep an eye on Muffin at all times. On our way home (after Muffin had passed out from exhaustion–we will call this time date night), Josh had a mini-rant (that I was in full agreement with): we saw several kids that seemed to be sans parents at the parade. Running around. Almost being run over by floats (the kid’s fault, not the parade participants’), hitting other kids with a scooter (I’m emotionally scarred by that one), and just not being supervised. Added to that, there were a few people (one guy in particular) that gave off a creepy, pedophile-vibe. Lots of people who are distracted, lots of kids left to their own devices, one pedophile is all it takes. Super scary.
Muffin was frighteningly well-behaved. Especially for having naptus interruptus after only 30 minutes or so of napping. And having to wait for the parade for hours.
Did I mention (and this is also alarming) that there were no trash cans? I almost feel sorry for the people who were set to clean up after the parade, but they didn’t put out the trash cans. And they had the porta-potty that I stared at for four hours unable to use.
Now, let me say this: I was a West Bank baby (not West Bank in the Middle East, but I was born on the West Bank of the Mississippi River in New Orleans). Yes, it’s possible. There’s a little smidge of New Orleans on that side of the river. As a result of my birthplace, it seems that I am capable of doing the following.
Keep in mind that I have no sense of balance or ability to play most sports that involve throwing or catching or walking and breathing at the same time, even. Yet, in parades my hands have superglue on them; I seem to be able to catch any throw that comes at me or passes me. I also seem to develop this ability to scream and holler and keep my hands held high. Yes, the dirt of my birthplace does that to you. You are coded at birth to capture throws from a Mardi Gras parade float. And to call it to me (if you count screaming like a banshee and waving my arms wildly above my head calling it to me).
At the end of the evening, we managed to catch/be given the following: several pounds of beads, 13 cups plus one that was split that I will use as a pencil cup in my classroom (score!), 2 stuffed animals (including a jester bear made for that particular krewe’s float), one large frisbee and several smaller frisbees.
I will be posting pictures soon from the parade. But. I. Must. Sleep. Now.