Now that grad school is over, Kurt and I started to slowly have a life again, which means now that it is Mardi Gras season, we can go out and enjoy the greatest free show on Earth, the parades in New Orleans. Other cities have their own parades and unique traditions, but in my opinion, nothing holds a candle to the beauty of a New Orleans parade. One parade that is tops for fun, beauty, and uniqueness is Muses. Muses is always the Thursday night before Mardi Gras, which means we usually have work on Friday morning; however, this year, by some beautiful luck of fate, we are off on Friday. Thus, it was the perfect night to finally enjoy the over 1000 all female Krewe of Muses, who just happen to have a shoe fetish.
Though the shoe float was always a part of Muses, the much coveted shoe throws were not. It started with a few members throwing decorated shoes, and slowly, the entire krewe took up the tradition. Now, almost every member throws elaborately decorated shoes, though the limit per person is capped at 30 shoes, in order to ensure their specialness. One of my colleagues teaches a Fine Arts Survey class and as one of their class projects, she decided to have her class decorate a shoe for a member of Muses to throw. These students did an absolutely amazing job! She included a note with each shoe for people to know that the students made the shoes and so that they could email her and let her know where each shoe ended up. She told me today that she has already received two emails, one from a military veteran with a great story.
Kurt and I decided to catch the parade right at the beginning and found a nice, not too crowded spot at the corner of Magazine and Bellecastle. The thing about parades is that it is always going to be crowded. People are going to jump in front of you. You’re going to both grab for the same beads and sometimes a little tug of war will occur. Regardless, it’s all in good fun and most people don’t take it too seriously. Granted, you can always find that one person who does take it too far, but for the most part, it’s just a family friendly good time.
Muses celebrated their 15th anniversary this year, and their theme was “Are You There God, It’s Me, Muses,” playing on the fact that they are now 15 years old.
All of the titles of the floats had something to do with the challenges that typical 15 year olds face, such as getting braces, learning to drive, even taking a plethora of selfies. Of course, in true Mardi Gras fashion, many of them slyly incorporated political commentary as well.
As you can see, the floats are often funny and poignant. The sides of the floats are often decorated as well, but I was too busy catching throws to worry too much about taking pictures. Besides the floats, there were many high school bands and walking groups. One of the cool new things to bloom, especially within the last few years, are the fun walking clubs. Though some of them have been around for at least ten years, their popularity and attraction has increased exponentially. Now, there are highly specific groups devoted solely to one specialized theme, in addition to broader themed groups. There were quite a few different ones in Muses, some of which I managed to snag a picture.
In all, the parade was extremely fun and one of best parades that New Orleans has to offer. I highly suggest attending it next year if you have the chance. Plus, the throws are all pretty awesome, from notepads, to mirror hanging shoes, to themed beads, to the ever elusive shoe. Muses is sure to please everyone. For not having any kids, Kurt and I caught something from almost every float, and most of the items were Muses themed. Definitely a must see!