It is hard not to be in love with everything here when the weather is so damned pleasant. Mornings in the 60′s, even the crusties look good smoking cigarettes in front of Rue De La Course. It’s been miserable here for so long I can’t even count. The last few weeks are the first respite from 90′s weather for something like five god-awful months, where the only break is lying in bed with the AC on, wondering how bad Entergy is going to screw you for your little oases of comfort.
Last night the season of the Good Times officially began again with the march of the 6t’9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club Hola-ween Parade, which I was honored to join. It was a Latino-themed parade, even Krewe De Jieux had Mariaschewitz going on. The club had the only mariachi band in town; rumor has it that 6t’9 paid a fortune for the honor. Is this an unofficial welcoming of the expanded Latino presence in New Orleans? An admittance that now Hondurans are the second largest ethnic minority after white Americans?
6t’9 is stepping it up in terms of artistry, and I’m not just saying that because I am a new member. The giant Day of the Dead-style skull was visually impressive, and I personally liked the figures of loteria (simple, good idea well executed). Krewe De Zoo had excellent costumes. Top float had to go to Miss Claudia for her as the Virgin of Guadalupe, but the gutter punk with a bicycle coffin that he drove from inside (This is where the engineering talent goes in this city, and clearly the Army Corps of Engineers needs to step up its recruitment) topped everyone by bringing his pet rooster as a prop.
Pardon me for devolving here into another rant on the superiority of New Orleans culture, but why oh why must the rest of America be so boring? When will we get over being Protestants? If we can’t be a humane nation, at least we should be able to enjoy being still the wealthiest nation on earth, and to do this with a little more style than American Idol and Project Runway.
Of course, many of us have a weakness for the ponies. Hardly a new idea; but I remain fascinated that 6t’9 is able to pull off a kid-friendly Halloween parade with this level of sexuality, including a distinctly S & M themed sub-krewe. The sight of six buxom women in black leather and corsets with bridles and tails pulling a cart down the middle of a major intersection just isn’t something I get to see in other American cities. Frankly, it’s hot. And the kids (at least the small ones) appear none the wiser.
Don’t get me wrong – San Francisco has the Folsom Street Fair, a leather street parade, as well as various festivities around the Castro, but these are different in that first they really are for only a part of the community (why do the fags get to have more fun than the rest of us?) and second that the level of subtlety just isn’t there. I could speculate about the legacy of legal prostitution from the Victorian era or the still-vibrant strip club business, but I honestly don’t know how New Orleans seems to find ways to mix sexy with cute so well, to so successfully doll it up in a way that is less blatant and more about the allure than anything.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank LJ, Renee, Rebecca and the other Orleanian Ashkenaz for allowing me, a goy, to march with Krewe de Jieux. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Jieuxs, I mean, getting to throw a gold painted bagel is the ultimate one-up on Zulu (whose practice of throwing painted coconuts has become its own cult). Of course, they did need a gentile to push the float, as it was Shabbas. Or so they say. Shalom, y’all.