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Mendacity February 14, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Somewhere out There (not here) Endymion leans on his shepard’s staff and contemplates the moon. This is so distant from what will erupt a few blocks away this evening as to be almost out of reach, but I would choose to be there however long the walk.

Somewhere along the canals of Venice, or climbing the Albaicín in the midday hallucinatory alleys of the past I lost Carnival and I’m not sure where to find it. The Bacchanal of of this weekend holds no appeal, hasn’t for years, really. The endless parade of megafloats is a Zero, not a point but a hollow as big as infinity, god’s bottomless junk drawer. I have abandoned MoM’s, filed it away as memories of Arabi long ago.

Tuesday they promise rain.

What is missing is me, the old Dionysian me. I looked in my costume trunks (smelling a bit of midew; all must go in the wash), but did not find it there. I know it’s in here somewhere, likes to sneak off to the Holy Ground and play the chatty barfly. I start to wonder if I can find it Here, in this city of my birth. It is drowning again and too few seem to notice, our Lord Mayor the Krewe Captain of the final Americanization, an apocalype as large as Katrina and similarly invited by those who refused to see the faults were not in the stars but in themselves.

Today my neighborhood is Kenner, just another big box strip mall boulevard just off the exit marked America 1/4 mile. (America 1/8th mile. America 1/16th mile. American 1/32nd mile…), a paradox I have no interest in teting. My friend the Pill Doctor would call this depression but it is not. It is a sadness as infinute as zero, a nostalgia for all that was almost lost in apocalypse and a sadness that those who did not drown are being sold into the galleys to pull their oars like Real Americans.

I am not a real American. I think the last vestiges of anything ike patriotism were burned away when the last Apollo climbed into the morning sky. I simply didn’t realize it until the Federal Flood washed away all illusions, a catastrophc baptism into what? Something like a promised salvation, a clean slate in the aftermath that proved itself the medicine bottle of a thousand Cousin Dudley’s who’s only interest is to cash in on mendacity.

BIG DADDY: I’ve lived with mendacity!—Why can’t you live with it? Hell, you got to live with it, there’s nothing else to live with except mendacity, is there?

New Orleans as Big Daddy, dying of cancer that has spread to murder, greed, conformity, and the lot of them–the mayor, the uptown money, the downtown carpetbagers–all circling, eyeing each other, trying to get their hands on 28,000 of the finest acres this side of the Nile.

That is what Endymion and Bacchus are to me: mendacity, the Lexus and American Express suburbanites slumming in the city tossing trinkets to the pick up truck port-o-let crowd come downriver from Kenner pretending this is Carnival.

Carnival is not Blaine Kern and a movie star grand marshall. Carnival is a Spirit and I’m looking for a preacher who knows that Holy Ghost. Perhaps if it’s warm and rainy Mardi Gras, I will walk naked as Ezekial through a mostly empty Quarter with eyes like wheels of fire, one saved in the desert by ravens while looking for my place in the story I seemed to have laid aside and lost track of, a prophet of the wrathful god of water, preaching sin and sin again in perfect innocence while we still have time, before one flood or another washes the slate so clean Noah cannot find the mount.

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Baron Samedi Gras February 13, 2010

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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A patron for our annual Begindymion Bacchanal here in the middle of Samedi Gras Endymion madness, the loa Baron Samedi is “…a sexual loa, frequently represented by phallic symbols and is noted for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and having a particular fondness for tobacco and rum. Additionally, he is the loa of sex and resurrection, and in the latter capacity he is often called upon for healing by those near or approaching death, as it is only Baron who can accept an individual into the realm of the dead. Baron Samedi can also be depicted as figure who crosses traditional gender boundaries, either through cross-dressing or by exhibiting bisexuality.”

See you at the appointed time and place. If you’re drinking rum, tip your glass as you enter and leave for the Baron, and leave him a cigarette. Or something.

(H/T to Bart of B.Rox for this excellent picture, which now adorns our door to keep the Kennerites at bay. Photo taken from CevilyDevil’s excellent collection of Voodoo art here.

Too Loose Street February 20, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, home, Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, parade, Rebirth, Recovery.
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Finally, we get to have the party.

The Travesty of the Commons February 17, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, assholes, Carnival, Carrollton, Mardi Gras, Mid-City, New Orleans, NOLA, parade, Toulouse Street.
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Photo courtesy of that Yellow Blog guy

While reasonable people are safe in bed, visions of flashing Krewe d’Etat throws dancing in their head, there are other truly Odd people out in the dark doing strange things on the neutral ground: painting lines, stretching bits of yellow tape, and effecting odd geometric shapes from wire utility flags. They are out claiming the public neutral ground as their own private parade party spot.

This is nuts.

The ladders are bad enough. Now we never had a ladder that I remember growing up, but this isn’t long repressed ladder envy. I have fond memories of being hoisted on my father’s shoulders to watch the parades pass down Canal St. Ladders are a great way for small children to see the parade. That is how this all started out. Instead my beef is with the people who arrive in the dark of night (or sometimes midday, apparently unencumbered by inconvenient jobs) and plant rows of ladders along the curb on parade routes. The result: only these lucky few can actually see or catch any throws. The rest of us get to stand in back and watch them.

Technically, this is illegal. A ladder must be as far back from the curb as it is tall, and cannot be chained together with other ladders to make a wall. Sadly, the NOPD gave up enforcing these regulations after Katrina. Given that we live in one of the three most dangerous cities on Earth, I guess they have a point. This did not, however, prevent them from deploying the full force of the city to tone down Mid-City’s bonfire.

But on that same neutral ground every year, people (mostly not from our neighborhood) show up and spray paint themselves blocks of neutral ground larger than some homes in our neighborhood, and if you want to challenge their right to do so you had best be ready for fisticuffs. This is insane. Parades are supposed to be for everyone. That is why we allow them to roll down the city’s public streets, rather than having them circle the floor of the Superdome for ticket buyers. But try telling that to the neutral ground Nazi’s.

It is simply another example of the continued crumbling of the basic social contract, and the tendency of some in the greater world to privatize the commons for their own benefit to the greater society’s detriment. When Washington and Baton Rouge are run on this basis, why not grab your own piece of public property for your private party?

When people are ready to come to blows because you might want to stand on a piece of common ground they cleverly spray painted an imaginary box on, is it any wonder we roam around the city killing each other for slightly more egregious slights?

All I know is if the NOPD is too busy to care about this sort of thing, then maybe we should go back to having the bonfire we all enjoyed because, frankly, we’re not interested in being bothered with all the city’s troublesome regulations either.

Thankfully the secret den of the Krewe of Too Loose is conveniently located on the side away from the neutral ground, and the people at the end of our nearest street intersecting the parade route are civil, even friendly, and you can actually wiggle up front without anyone taking a swing at you. Unlike the famous postulate of the tragedy of the commons we don’t ruin our own bit of space because it is our own, a corner we all pass every day. We behave as we do because we are neighbors.

Feel free to break into This Land Is Your Land at any time, especially that verse we never sang in school:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Samedi Gras February 2, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Mardi Gras, Mid-City, New Orleans, Rebirth, Recovery, Toulouse Street.
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I took a stroll up and down Orleans with the camera running. My wife and son are sick as dogs so the long anticipated Begindymion Bachanal will have to wait for another year. For now, I’m just wandering the neighborhood and enjoying the scene.