Bacchus was wild.
We were not prepared for just how wild.
Okay, so we’re not completely oblivious. Breesus was presiding as King, so we knew it was going to be a mad-crazy event. The Saints homecoming parade drew the biggest parade crowds of any event, ever, according the local media.
We volunteered to work the school parking lot (a block off of Napoleon, which is the street where the parade was to begin). Though the Archdiocese demanded a hefty sum of 50% for us to use the parking spaces the school rents from them (ahem) it is always worth it to help our little nonprofit school bring in funds, so of course we wanted to help. At first, the plan was for me to bring the kids home after the morning parades for nap and let Paul walk up to the school. But the fun of the morning put us into some sort of ecstatically-impaired state of mind where our sensibilities left us completely. We threw the ladders and wagon and bags and signs and kids into the truck and illegally rolled ourselves slowly down back streets until we arrived at the school.
Then the plan was to meet up with friends who we knew were on the route and let the kids run around until parade time (it was still more than 2 hours before the parade start time). Paul would work parking until right before the parade and then join us. In a normal situation, this would work perfectly. Except that it was Bacchus and the people were already DOZENS deep. The streets were already filled with Mardi Gras mess, and the people were Very Serious about their tent cities.
Thank goodness we found Emmy and the kids — and thank goodness that her friends, Erin and Chuck, were kind enough to 1. share the space; 2. help watch the kids, and 3. accommodated Will, who instantly fell in love with their adorable baby boy and tried multiple times to fold him up and put him in his pocket (Honestly though, who could blame Will? That kid is great.) Chuck masterfully maneuvered our ladder and wagon in with the mix so that all the kids could sit up safely — nearly eye-level with many of the riders — allowing them to see and keeping them safe from the crowds. I stood beside on a step stool, often with one of the kids standing with me, talking to the kids and keeping an eye on the straps and bars (I get a little freaked out when the kids get antsy.) Still, the crowd was so tight that one man held on to the side of my step stool to keep from getting shifted too much in the jostling crowd.
Or, maybe because he wanted to be that close to the view of my rear-end, depending on your perspective.
Despite the crowd, it was a fun night. The energy was amazing and for the most part, the people were all friendly and thoughtful. Another child in the crowd joined into an open seat in our ladder set-ups (another unwritten rule — when you have open seats, you ask other families if their kids want up — one more small child out of the crowd lets us all breathe easier) and he was hilarious. (“Here are your guesses for the next float, Ms. Holly. A porcupine, a giant heart with letters, or chickens in a pot of soup.”)
The parade itself was mostly standard fare of floats and parades and riders — with added coolness of confetti, search lights into the night sky, and several “mega” floats pulling dozens of riders with several connected units. Combined with the incredible crowd, it was sort of breath-taking to be there. Especially at the start of the parade.
A woman nearby had a mini-Lombardi trophy. Several folks came over to take pictures with it — including these kids. The cuteness!
What we didn’t see was that further up the parade line, friends of ours had made a NINE FOOT LOMBARDI TROPHY. (Photo from Cade‘s collection.)
We heard that Breesus himself bowed down to it upon passing, that Sean Peyton acknowledged it, that folks are leaving signed mementos on it, and others are showing up to get photos with it. Here’s an interview showing the statue and talking with them about it.
How cool is that?
But back to the parade. Breesus went right on by us, just like that.
A friend of mine from college is shocked that Paul doesn’t get stopped in the streets regularly for being mistakenly identified as Drew Brees. I wasn’t sure there was much resemblance and then I saw Breesus’s new Dove commercial. (Note: this is really worth watching.)
Being a big Krewe, the mega-bands were out, too.
It was a beautiful night, full of crazy energy and madness. A wonderful way to cap off our Mardi Gras parades for the season!