The rain ended, but the weather forecast warned of temperatures that made us think of late season football weather so we put on all the warm clothes we last wore on the first few days we left Illinois in December for a sixteen hour day of parade viewing. The crowds grow thicker every day, so we headed to a viewing stand which required tickets, rather than sitting on lawn chairs and battling for space. Even the viewing stand involved some jockeying for position. Watching the bands and floats is entertaining of course, but the name of the game here is getting beads and other throws. During Okeanos, the first parade, we sat next to two adorable children. Every float that went by, the throwers aimed for those two little darlings. We were in the no bead zone.
The kids soon had enough and the family left while we waited for the Thoth krewe to arrive. The smaller krewes are supposed to follow one another fairly promptly, but we waited almost two hours in the viewing stand for the next parade to start. No explanation given. Thoth had unique floats made out of colored foil rather than the fiber glass construction favored by most others and they were beautiful. But they weren’t very generous with those throws either.
As we waited for Mid-City to arrive, it got so late, we had to leave the stands for dinner reservations in a nearby hotel. It was nice to be inside for a while and have the chance to warm our fingers and toes. By the time we got back to the stands from dinner, Mid-City was just finishing. It was hard to decide where to sit when we returned. There were some balconies behind us and the float riders exerted a lot of energy throwing up to them and the weaker throwers favored the front row. We ended up in the second row behind a woman who wore a “Bead Whore” T-shirt. It was well named.
Bacchus krewe was scheduled to parade tonight; Endymion was to start right after them, making up for yesterday’s rain out. Both super krewes had huge well lit floats and they were beautiful. But that was incidental. We stood and screamed and the riders tossed beads as fast as they could. We began to get a little collection going.
Since Endymion was a separate parade with separate tickets for the stands, the place cleared out again and we finally had a chance for the front row. What a difference that made. We filled up both the bags we brought and were glad for the empty bead bags the throwers tossed our way. Anderson Cooper was the honorary parade marshall and as he tossed the cups with his likeness the crowd went wild. His coverage of Katrina and the oil spill have made him quite a favorite here. Endymion wasn’t quite finished when our guide said it was time to go. After all it was after 1am. We lugged two ten pound bags of beads block after block to go back to the bus. The walk back coincided with the end of the Endymion parade route. The riders threw whole packages of beads on this final block to try to get rid of them all. We couldn’t resist. On that last block we probably got as many throws as we did in the preceding fifteen hours.
We still have five more parades to see. Beads, anyone?