Benjamin Morris: Carnival, the Morning After

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Benjamin Morris

By now the streets have all been swept clean, the costumes put away, the restorative concoctions mixed and drunk, and the beads mostly fallen from the trees. Wet, chaotic, and unpredictable though it may have been, Carnival was no less fun for it, and as we gingerly ease into Lent it’s worth looking back on all the good times that we had.

Since we still have a few restorative concoctions left to drink, here are a few highlights of the Uptown parades in absolutely no order whatsoever.

Nyx: who among us didn’t have an amazing time at their parade? Not only were the costumes and floats out of this world, beautifully designed and executed, but the riders (hi, Pauline!) were extremely generous. We came away with more throws from Nyx than nearly all the other parades put together. Definitely a krewe to watch out for next year.

Babylon: this year it felt like Babylon was more family-friendly than in years past, at least by the sheer number of children turning out. On the other end of the age spectrum, it was nice to see a float dedicated to the officers emeritus near the head of the parade, though it did look like a few of them might have nodded off. Special commendation to the Kilts of Many Colours on their world tour, and the Ladies of Lafayette, whose uniforms were even brighter than the beads. Stunning!

Muses: What else is there to say? Having received a rubber-duck necklace from Patricia Clarkson herself, looking resplendent on the heel of honor, my objectivity is happily compromised. Even had it not been, I’d still be at a loss for anything but praise. The satire was pungent as always, and the floats, as lavish as the expenditures the riders were lampooning. Can anything more be said about Theresa Andersson’s stunning performance? That alone may have been the most impressive moment in all of Mardi Gras. Another banner year for one of Carnival’s finest krewes.

D’Etat: A personal favorite, d’Etat always delights with its mix of traditional Carnival customs – more than one flambeau performed complex juggling tricks with their flames – and sharp, biting satire. Hard to single out just one, but the sub-krewe of dancing millionaires drew our loudest laughs, as did the infamous $9.99 sausage pizza from Herman Cain. With the jokes flying thick and fast, you have to be quick to catch them all, just like the blinking skeleton jesters.

Morpheus: Another great, family-friendly parade, and O. Perry Walker’s marching band was on fine form. Especially nice to see them playing instruments donated by the Tipitina’s Foundation (as was Sophie B. Wright’s band too, during Mid-City’s colorful parade). A healthy reminder on two fronts: first, that the Foundation makes a real difference, that all of us in the community benefit from its efforts, and second, that there is always more work to be done. None of us should neglect the rebuilding efforts that still continue, even if they’ve faded from the headlines.

Thoth: Fantastic as ever, and the theme, Streets of New Orleans, was designed to great effect, but there’s just one thing. Guys: those of us out there on the route: we’re parade-goers, not targets, okay?

Benjamin Morris is the author of Coronary, a poetry collection, and The Bella, a novella. Around town, he can be found catching music on Frenchmen, crawling the galleries on St Claude, playing soccer in City Park, or tending bar at the Sovereign Pub Uptown. His column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at

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