Bacchus, Sunday night.

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.)

After seeing that shower scene, I whole-heartedly agree. Paul is a dead ringer for Breesus.

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!

Family Life in NOLA

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Sunday Morning Mardi Gras Magic

I know what you think.

You think it’s not for you, this Mardi Gras thing.  Maybe you don’t see yourself as much of a drinker.  Maybe you’re a little put-off by the whole girls-gone-wild thing; you weren’t the type to want to do Spring Break in South Beach even when you were in college.  So you figure that Mardi Gras isn’t for you.  And also?  That city?  New Orleans?  Well, you saw the pictures and heard the stories and it’s a mess.  You can’t figure out why people would even want to live there, let alone visit.

You’ve thought at least some of those things, I feel certain.  I fully admit that until I moved here, I thought THE VERY SAME THING.  Actually, both Paul and I did.  And now we can say that we were very wrong.

New Orleans is an absolutely fantastic place to be, especially during Carnival season — and especially for families.  As an example, here is our family, enjoying parades this past Sunday morning.  Music, laughter, conversation, floats, horses, football, dancers, prizes, and of course, beads.

Krewes of Okeanos, Mid-City, and Thoth.  Vantage on Magazine Street.

Family Life in NOLA
Family Photos
Mi Familia

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Sunday night, 9pm.

Family Life in NOLA

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All photographs were taken with an Iphone. None involve live animals.

If you’re the sensitive type, the kind that can’t handle any sort of recognition of the fact that we all own private parts, or worse, sometimes bring them out to play, then I urge you to stop reading now.  Because this may press a button or two.  Not because I’m talking about something related to our current Carnival season.  Because I’m going to talk about my cat.

The cat likes stuffed toys.  Scout has been with us for over 11 years now, since that snowy February night when he was rescued from an abandoned lot, less than a pound and only a few weeks old.  From the start he has been a knead-er, pushing his little paws and purring until he is content to curl up and sleep.  Often, he does this on a blanket or bed.  But when we’re not around, he likes to knead stuffed toys.  We’ll come home to find tufts of fuzz in a trail through the house, leading to where Scout has kidnapped Snoopy or left Pluto in a mess of polyester orange fur.  Making sure anything soft and impressionable is off the floor is important in our house; lest the cat decide to get cozy and half of your teddy bear goes bald.

It seemed like a fairly benign quirk.  Then a few weeks ago, Paul and I entered our bedroom one afternoon to find Scout on our bed, kneading away at a stuffed Lady, from Lady in the Tramp, one of Kate’s favorite toys.  We quickly pulled Lady away from the assault and accidentally flipped Scout over in the process.

He landed on his back with his belly up.  Showing clearly that he was very very visibly… excited.

And then.  With us there staring away at his little red thing pointing up at us, he started to shake.  SHAKE.  I am not making this up.  The bottom half of that damn cat was TREMBLING.

O. M. G.   The cat was getting off on our daughter’s stuffed dog.

All this time, and the cat was going to our kids’ synthetically-filled plushies to get laid.

<I know, I need a moment, too…. but I promise, just stick with me, a chaser is coming.>

Since then, our efforts to protect the kids toys from the love, I mean loooooove, of our cat have improved.  But we still find him occasionally curled up on Will’s pillow, surrounded by rolling paper with catnip scent in the air, laying a little TOO close to that Ugly Doll.  During Mardi Gras, the volume of throws being brought in by the kids makes it more difficult to keep the house to a PG rating.

So when Will walked in tonight from the Morpheus parade, I think I heard Barry White go into overdrive in the cat’s head:

As Kate would say, I KNOW.


So here’s the story of Long-Fellow (as named by Will.)

It started earlier today when I spontaneous cut a piece of cardboard, painted it black, and started cutting up beads.  This was the result.

The sign was a huge hit with Kate at d’Etat.  But Kate got cold.  Granted, it was pretty cold out tonight, even if we did bundle the kids as warmly as possible.

Yes, Kate wore a princess nightgown over her layers and coat.  It was a compromise.

Anyhow, towards the end of d’Etat, Kate got a little tired and cold, so the sign went to Will.  I walked home with Kate while Paul stayed with Will to watch Morpheus.

A rider passed Will a stuffed toy and Will said “Merci” and showed the sign.  Then, he blew her a kiss.  The float stopped and she melted.

She motioned him over to the edge and pointed him our directly so that everyone would know that she had something for him.  Then she pulled out the snake’s head and handed it down to Will.  But she kept pulling and pulling and pulling and Will turned in circles as the snake wrapped around him.

And that was how Will came home — completely wrapped up in a stuffed snake now known as Long-Fellow.


Will was not the only one to take home a prize throw.  Kate, who rebounded after the home-visit, requested “The Girls Parade.”  So we piled up and went back out to take in Muses.  Muses was on the main parade route and had many, many more people than the previous parades.  It was packed!


Kate got a shoe.  It’s her second.

Happy Mardi Gras, Y’all!!

Family Life in NOLA

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In the lead.

Haydel’s is the current King Cake Champion in this house.

At least, until we’ve tried a MacKenzie’s.  Must not leave a stone unturned!

Oh, and Haydel’s?  They put the baby IN the cake, the way nature intended.

Family Life in NOLA

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