Posts Tagged beads

Mardi Gras Here We Come!

We left Austin this afternoon on our way to New Orleans for Mardi Gras weekend. More specifically, for the Endymion Parade on Saturday. This will be my fourth year to ride in this parade. As before, we will be returning home on Sunday rather than staying for Fat Tuesday — I’m sure we’ll do that one year, but I don’t know when.

We are staying in Lafayette tonight, which is just a couple of hours outside of New Orleans. This is partly to break up the trip and partly to save a little money as our hotel in New Orleans is much more expensive (as well as much nicer). A nice benefit is free wireless Internet access. I’m sure the Internet access for the rest of our trip will be far from free.

Tomorrow night is our Balcony Party. We have a reservation for a Balcony on Bourbon Street and we will be buying beads tomorrow afternoon. (We would have bought them when we were buying our float beads last month, but we weren’t sure we would have a balcony.)

Friday night is Beans and Jeans, which is a private party for the krewe. We have a lot of fun and then the Grand Marshall (Kid Rock) and the musical acts for the parade (REO Speedwagon) arrive and are introduced.

Saturday is the big day and is basically an all day (and most of the night) affair. The float ride is usually around five hours of throwing beads, starting just before dusk, but pre-parade prep actually starts around noon. The parade ends at the Superdome where we join the Extravaganza already in progress. The main acts usually don’t come on until well after midnight.

It’s. Almost. Time. To. Party!

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Endymion Coronation Ball

endymion
As I previously mentioned, we went to New Orleans this past weekend for the Endymion Coronation Ball. The trip was great and played out pretty much as expected. We left Austin on an 8:10 AM flight and arrived in New Orleans at about 11:15.

After picking up our rental car, we headed to the hotel to drop of the wives before meeting Randy, our local connection, for lunch and bead shopping. However, on the way to the hotel we decided to stop at a Arc to check out their Mardi Gras sale (based on a recommendation). It seems like a pretty good program they have going, employing intellectually disabled adults to help reduce waste by recycling beads.

The two of us that were there were buying beads for ourselves and four other people. Though I didn’t end up buying any for myself (I was too picky based on a disappointing experience last year), we did get half of the beads for Travis the other four. This ended up being a great time saver later in the day since these beads were sold in 30 pound bags. While Travis was dealing with these beads, I went ahead and took the wives to the hotel.

Next up, Crazy Johnny’s! I got my steak in the form of a wonderful steak sandwich — which I then realized is the same way I had it last year, though I was the only one to do so then and all three of us did so this year. Three people is the fewest I’ve been part of at Crazy Johnny’s; certainly a different feel though still wonderful.

After dropping of the Arc beads at Randy’s apartment, we headed to Beads by the Dozen to shop for the rest of our beads. I didn’t enjoy this as much as usual, and I’m not really sure why. Certainly the fact that they were out of some of our favorite beads didn’t help, but I think there was more to it. This resulted in not spending as much time there, which was probably a good thing as we ended up having less time to get things done than we expected. With half the beads for five people, all of my beads, and some beads for Randy, we had quite a number of boxes of beads to transport back to Randy’s and then transfer to bags. I’m not sure how long it ended up taking us, but by the time we were finished it was probably passed the time we really needed to head to the hotel to get ready for the Coronation Ball.

Food. Drink. Music. Dancing. Parade. Beads. Painted tattoos. Palm readings. It was a great party. Here is a selection of pictures from the event:

For lots more pictures, including higher resolutions of these and shots of our group, head on over to my Gallery2 Album.

Only three weeks ’til Endymion!

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Leaving for New Orleans

2007 Coronation Ball

2007 Coronation Ball


This weekend is the annual Endymion Coronation Ball in New Orleans. This will be our third time to attend (2005 and 2007 were the previous two) and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

The Coronation Ball is a black tie affair, though with a Mardi Gras flair, naturally. This means that I wear my tuxedo, but with a bow tie made of purple, green and gold beads. Let’s see, I must have a shot of that around here somewhere…. Ah, here we go.mardi-gras-tuxedo

We also take this opportunity to buy our throw beads for the actual parade next month. The parade generally lasts about five hours during which I probably throw somewhere on the order of 100 dozen strings of beads. And by no means am I a high volume thrower as I actually spend a good amount of time taking photos as well.

Boxes (and boxes) of beads to throw from the float

Boxes (and boxes) of beads to throw from the float

I really have a great time shopping for beads. Getting the boxes of beads to storage and then moving the beads from the boxes into bags to be loaded on the float is less fun. In addition to beads, we usually get a few stuffed animals and other trinkets to throw, which are always a hit with the parade-goers.

We usually also grab lunch on Saturday at Crazy Johnny’s, which is so, so good. I’m definitely looking forward to that — I hope we’re doing that this year.

I. Need. Steak.

🙂

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Austin Mardi Gras – No Throwing Beads?!

I went down to 6th Street with a group of friends last night with a bunch of beads we brought back last weekend from New Orleans. We expected to throw them to the many revelers on the street from the roof-top bar at Maggie Mae’s. However, the police have apparently disallowed any such bead throwing and have convinced the establishments to participate in the enforcement. They were many signs indicating that throwing anything at all would result in ejection from the bar and possible arrest. I don’t think we’ll be going to 6th Street for future Fat Tuesdays.

Of course, I’m not sure it’s really a great loss — the Mardi Gras atmosphere on 6th Street is so different from Bourbon Street. On Bourbon Street, people are having fun. While crowds do gather a little around a girl that “shows”, it’s generally in a “having a good time” spirit. On 6th Street there is a very different energy. It is far more predatory, akin to a swarm of flies gathering around some morsel of food and then dissipating briefly until the next bit of food was found. Watching from the roof it felt a bit like a social experiment — kind of humorous, but mostly sad.

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Endymion Parade

I’m sitting in the costume setup area in the Superdome relaxing before the fun really gets started. We got our beads loaded onto the float this morning and ate a hearty buffet breakfast. In an hour or so we’ll load up on buses to head to the parade staging area where we’ll unbag scores of beads to get them ready to through once the parade gets underway

Hail Endymion!.

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