There’s a lot to be said concerning parade etiquette nowadays. Look at Endymion this past Saturday night. On the one end of the scale, five people were wounded at the corner of Poydras and Carondolet. Gunplay to end an argument in the middle of a crowd and in front of a bunch of cops is, you could say, the ultimate in bad parade etiquette.

On the other end of the scale there is just plain rudeness. Read Nola’s post and the ensuing comments. But I think there has to be a sliding scale of rudeness when you’re talking about Carnival parades. And location has to be taken into consideration, as well as the scale of the event. In the end it just may not be worth it to try to stake out a claim in strange territory to an open-ended event.

Endymion’s return to Mid-City was a really big deal. Business along the route counted on parade day to be a real revenue boost as food and booze sales increase with the crowds. More importantly, a lot of churches along the route sell parking spaces, food and beverages for Endymion’s passing to the point where they may not need to hold any other major fund raising events during the year. For the two years when they needed it most, after the storm, these churches and businesses were hard pressed to make up the lost revenue.

It shouldn’t have been surprising that when Nola, CS, guests and I arrived for Endymion at 1:30 (to park in one of those church lots), the neutral ground was already completely staked out by ladders the length of Canal Street as far as you could see. The non-retail business up and down the street (law offices, insurance agents, etc.) cordoned off their front yards and held private parties. There was a lot of grilling going on, luscious barbecued meat aromas wafted about. Our 25 pieces of Popeyes kept the hunger at bay, though. We weren’t totally unprepared.

We staked out a corner and sat on the curb; ate, talked and people watched waiting for the parade. We wondered when the police would come to close off the intersection, surprised they had not done so earlier and doubly surprised traffic still flowed down Canal fairly regularly as four o’clock approached.

Next thing we knew one person put a chair down in the street. Then a few more, and within minutes the street next to our little corner was blocked off by portable chairs and ice chests and the twenty or so people who had been standing around increased tenfold. Nola tells the tale from then on pretty well.

Two standout events. First, one of the drunken fools encroaching on our space pulled out a bottle of Crown Royal and offered it to me. Given the earlier tensions I was kind of surprised, but grateful. I had just been thinking about fighting my way to the bar.

The second event was something I was trying to prevent. Last year, as Endymion was winding down, I was walking down the street not paying attention and WHAM! big pair of beads in the face. This year I vowed to be on the lookout at all times. Vigilantly on the lookout, I caught a pair in mid-air, looked down at them, thinking, “That was a pretty good catch,” when WHAM! a big pair of beads in the face.

So maybe no more Endymion, or at least not on Canal Street and not without an early escape route.

A Different Day, a Different Corner

So Sunday was a new day. Rested and recuperated we headed out. I vowed to be better prepared and go by a chair before heading to the route. We got started a bit late, not realizing our preferred route to the uptown roost near Tipitina’s was blocked by Thoth. I got CS and guest as close as I could and unloaded the beer and food for them to carry the rest of the way while I went to park; doubling back eventually to Jefferson and St. Charles.

I began the long walk, toting camera bag containing camera, whiskey and two water bottles. Once I hit Napoleon I decided to take a break, watch the parade and pour the first cocktail of the day. Moving on after a swig or two I finally located the rest of the crew enjoying sandwiches in the shade on Napoleon Avenue. SoMo has some pics and a pleasant, non-Grinchy account of the day.

Long story short, no one invaded us. Great place to watch the parade. Saw Hulk Hogan, Coach Miles and the Tigers. Got a doubloon from the Hulkster and caught a lot of beads. Sun and the other kids had a good time. Got a ride back to the car, and back to the house in time for the last 3 minutes of the Superbowl just in time to watch the Manning Miracle. And no beads in the face, either.

2 Responses to Parade-iquette

  1. […] we will once Sun is a bit older). Bacchus was awesome–o% suckage in contrast to Endymion. Pete and SoMo describe it well. The weather was nice; the company was good; the crowd was manageable; […]

  2. Nola on February 5, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    I admit that I am too old for the Endymion crowd. That sucks but not as much as it’d suck to endure another Endymion in the future! I’m stubborn, but not stupid. Let those who don’t mind all the hassle go and revel it up!

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