all on a mardi gras day…

mardi gras day was so much fun! relaxed, easy, no agenda really, just simple fun.

i didn’t really get it together to have an actual costume, so instead i decided to go with the black and gold theme. i found an old pair of tuxedo pants i had cut off a few mardi gras ago that i had painted white dots down the striping on the side; i repainted them gold with silkscreen/fabric ink, which stood out much more than the white. and then had a last-minute, lundi gras late-night inspiration to use my “who dat!” stencil (that i use for my bottlecap signs) to put “who” on the right leg and “dat!” on the left, right below the knee, like i do with many of the stencil cut-offs that i sell. some black long-johns, gold/black stripey socks layered with some black ones, and my black and gold skull de lis t-shirt over a black long-sleeved thermal, and voila – instant “who dat” outfit.

i pulled out my ancient 1980’s era fleuvogs that have become my defacto mardi gras boots for the past ten years – those poor boots have had all manner of beads hot-glued to them and glitter spray-adhesived to them – and gave them this year’s color update (gold, of course!) and glittered and then lacquered the hell out of them! and then also found my cardboard glasses cut-outs – an old pair of 3-d glasses that i’d punched the colored lens out of – and gold glittered and lacquered the hell out of them too. (it’s hard to wear a mask of any sort when you are almost legally blind without your glasses and can’t wear contacts! so i devised this method of face-wear years ago, putting some sort of fun glasses over my regular glasses, so i can still see but still look festive!)

i’ve never worn a wig before in my life (i usually go the hat route), but ran out of time to devise some funky hat to go with my theme, so a blue page-boy wig pilfered from the ponce de leon mardi gras warehouse (thanks jen!) topped off the outfit. oh, and gold football/helmet beads from my friend theresa and a black football bead i’d found at plush appeal (the very last one!) to add a final touch.

it wasn’t much, really, compared to all the wonder i witnessed in the quarter and the marigny that day, but at least i made some effort. (i didn’t get any pics of myself other than this drunkity-drunk-drunk thelma and louise shot of me and my friend diane from much later in the day.)

me and diane

we got up early, as we do, got dressed, picked up friends dix and lisa and headed to claiborne and jackson to catch the beginning of zulu. we were running a tad late – arriving right around 8:15am – but weren’t worried because, well, zulu NEVER goes off on time. EXCEPT THIS YEAR!!! (did you notice that was a theme this year – all the parades seemed to go off on time and move along quickly without much delay? what’s up with that?)  as we were parking, the lead royalty floats were already starting to roll. no worries, though, since zulu has like 400 million royalty floats (kings, queens, dukes, dutchesses, last year’s kings, queens, dukes, dutchesses, etc. – it’s endless!).


we got to our usual spot near willow and jackson (you need to go down jackson some because the riders aren’t allowed to throw stuff until they make the turn off claiborne onto jackson) and had a lovely view. i love watching zulu there, and it was our friend lisa’s first mardi gras and therefore her first zulu, so she got the full immersion experience – including a drunk guy falling down and nearly splitting his head open on the street behind us, bleeding everywhere. (ems was able to get to him and take him to the hospital, but he’d come to before they even got there – whew!) we didn’t stay for all of zulu cuz it goes on forever and many of us had to pee (it’s hard to find a restroom in that area), but i got some good photos of what we did see.


we left around 10am and miraculously got out of our parking spot and back onto earhart in no time. back to midcity, dropped off dix and lisa, back to the house to pee and let the dog out one more time, and then down to the marigny. another miracle – we found parking on rampart near st. roch without having too look hard at all, and had a lovely walk through the marigny over to the lamothe house on kerlerec. our gang was already assembled there, fried chicken already procured (and halfway eaten!), beer iced down, cold cuts gotten, thanks to friends d & k. it was perfect.

we arrived to the r bar intersection just in time to catch st. anne’s coming through, taking lots of pics and seeing lots of fabulous costumes.

r bar

skeleton crew

a while later, we strolled down into the quarter in an attempt to meet up with fae’s derby wife, s’aint no lady, but to no avail. it was a fun sight-seeing tour, though, and we kept running into parts of st. anne’s at every turn. i took this fabulous photo of my cute rose-covered girlfriend on chartres street:

the rest of the afternoon becomes a bit blurry as i moved on to my fifth (or sixth or seventh? not sure how many i drank, really) beer, but i do know we made it back to the marigny, hung out some more on the corner by the r bar, hung out in the hotel room eating and drinking more, and then plopped ourselves down in our lawn chairs on kerlerec for the rest of the afternoon to people watch. it’s my favorite part of mardi gras day, just relaxing in the sun, watching folks having a good time and enjoying all the costumes.

chillin on kerlerec

we left by about 4:30 i guess, and then got stuck in black mardi gras/under the interstate claiborne avenue chaos on the way out, which derailed us by about an hour. but it was all good. we were home by about 6 to watch the olympics, and i was passed out by 10pm. it was a good day.

(you can see all my mardi gras pics on my flickr page here.)

lundi gras is for catching up…

wow, what a whirlwind it’s been.

when last i wrote, it was a few days before the mayoral election and the superbowl, and much anticipation was in the air. well, obviously, a lot has happened since then in new orleans.

first, rachel maddow came to town do a live broadcast of her show from the french quarter, the friday before the superbowl. i went down with d to check out the scene, only to find there really wasn’t much of a scene at all. when we arrived, there were about 20-25 folks hanging out on the corner of iberville and dauphine, chillin. there was a big boom camera in the middle of the street, the traffic was blocked at the corner so only iberville was passable, a big flat screen tv was set up showing the live programming on msnbc, and a small table was set up in the entrance of the ritz-carlton with many cocktail fixins on it. it took us a while to figure out that the majority of the show was actually to be shot on a balcony above us; they were shooting out the balcony doors with an msnbc logo projected onto the building across the street as the backdrop.

rachel did come out to take some photos and check out the set downstairs before the show went live, but she didn’t really address the audience. she is, however, just as dorky and cute as she appears to be on tv. when the show started above us, the crowd had grown a bit, and we all began chanting “who dat” and screaming rachel’s name; at the beginning of the show you can see she is amused and bewildered by our revelry below. every now and then they’d cut to live shots of the crowd down below via the camera on the street. i did manage to make it onto the screen a few times, as i was standing up on a ledge in front of the hotel across the street. (my friend diane in atlanta made this cute, silly video where you can see me and some of our other friends!)

rachel maddow show in the french quarter

at the end of the show, rachel came downstairs and did a segment with ti martin, proprietor of commander’s palace, on how to make a sazerac. that’s them above, in the pic. that was my view of the segment from the back of the crowd. i’m glad i made it down there for it, though it didn’t turn out to be what i expected at all. i got nowhere near rachel herself, but it was still fun to hang out with all the other dorky rachel fans and drink beer while watching the show. it was a great kickoff to superbowl/mardi gras weekend.

BERG in adonis

saturday of that weekend, fae rollerskated with the big easy rollergirls in adonis, a parade on the west bank. i had to drop her off at 9:30am way the hell down general de gaulle, and then kill a few hours before going back to watch the parade later in the afternoon. poor thing – it ended up being an eleven mile slog on a cold, windy, sunny day. she was so exhausted by the end, and got incredibly sunburnt. but it was fun to take in a west bank parade, something i’d never done in all my years here.

saturday was also our mayoral election, which largely got lost in all the superbowl/mardi gras hoopla. as everyone now knows, mitch landrieu won with a commanding 66% of the vote, winning all precincts except one in the city. though i knew my progressive candidate, james perry, wouldn’t probably win, i was sad and a little disappointed he didn’t get more votes. (he came in fifth.) but i am happy to know mitch is looking to bring james in to his administration. though i didn’t vote for him this time (i did the last two times he ran!), i am happy with mitch being our new mayor. i think it signifies a new era in the city’s political landscape, and i look forward to seeing what he can accomplish.

sunday was, of course, the superbowl. two weeks of raucous anticipation all came down to this day. after a quick (and cold!) scooter ride out to old metairie to eat some etouffe at my friend theresa’s tailgating party, fae and i headed to ponce de leon stadium to get our places for the big game. we arrived two hours before kickoff, so the game is a bit blurry to me, frankly, except the bigger plays and the last few minutes. when tracy porter intercepted manning for the touchdown that sealed the deal, i think we were all in shock. the last few minutes of play i was in disbelief, and then, it was over. we won!

it really happened!

after screaming and running around outside for ten or fifteen minutes, we finally managed to collect everyone in the back of my friend heather’s truck and we followed mac in her convertible, also filled with friends, downtown to join all the crazy who dats. we started down canal but soon turned around because traffic was at a standstill, heading back to claiborne and winding through the treme to get to the marigny. it was so much fun to drive through all the neighborhoods and see everyone out on their porches and in the streets, screaming “who dat!” and high-fiving and hugging. folks kept running up to the truck to high-five all of us, sometimes hanging on to the tailgate of the truck, riding with us for a while.

who dat!

that pic above was actually on our way out of the quarter, but was pretty representative of our night. i shot some really short videos of us on canal street, on bourbon street, and when we were leaving the marigny that night, that do a decent job of capturing the energy. it was magical and beautiful and i’m so glad i was here and able to witness it all.

amidst all this chaos, the new orleans craft mafia was afforded an amazing opportunity to do a one-week pop-up shop at 2038 magazine street (former home of winky’s, which abruptly went out of business and pulled out of that space). nocm members unique products have their permanent shop in the upstairs loft of that building, and so offered to the rest of us to do the one-week market in that space for mardi gras/valentine’s shopping, as the new tenants wouldn’t be coming in until the 1st. so monday morning, after the superbowl win, with hangovers, of course, we all schlepped our stuff down and set up in the space.

new orleans craft mafia's mardi gras market

today is actually the last day we’ll be open there, 12pm – 5pm. i’m heading over there in just a bit to help out. i was there a lot at the beginning of last week but haven’t been back since thursday so not sure how it’s been through the busy mardi gras/valentine’s weekend, but the beginning of the week was slow but steady. makes me wish we had a retail outlet all the time.

back to the recap: tuesday night was the saints superbowl parade, which was absolutely crazy. i went with our friend dave who was in town from louisville for a few days; he got to be here for the superbowl and the saints parade, but missed out on muses due to the weather-induced rescheduling. he and i had to park on canal street at galvez and WALK down to girod at st. charles in the cbd to watch the parade. the traffic was insane (estimated at 800,000 in the downtown area for the parade), but i was sure glad on the way out that we had done that. as parades go, the saint parade wasn’t much to speak of – not many throws, nothing exciting, borrowed floats from all the other crews. but it was exciting to welcome our football heroes back to town after gracing us with that spectacular win, and it was just yet one more magical moment in a season of magical moments that i was glad to be part of. (i forgot my camera that night, and cell phone pics didn’t come out, so no photos.)

we skipped the wednesday night parade due to exhaustion, and then everything was cancelled on thursday due to the bad weather. i was actually relieved to have a night off from the cold and some down time at home. but then friday night was a marathon. four parades! i dropped fae off uptown, as she was walking with BERG again in muses, early around 6pm; came back home for a while to kill time and then headed back down when the parade tracker told me the first parade was nearing our girod street location. the parking gods smiled on me and i got a spot two blocks from our viewing spot. despite the biting cold, it was a fun evening of parades, with hermes and d’etat being great lead-ins to muses. (morpheus kinda sucked, but three outta four ain’t bad.)

endymion captain's float

saturday was endymion. it’s been a long time since i watched endymion over on orleans, but this year, thanks to d, we had a private yard that was fenced in to hang out in, on the corner of david street. so fae scootered and heather and i rode bicycles and we had our lawn chairs and some adult beverages and a port-o-let and it was all very civilized. i didn’t catch a whole lot but it was still fun and nice to not be stepped on by the crazy mobs of parade-watchers and bead-catchers.

we skipped parades on sunday in favor of a relaxing valentine’s day devoid of mardi gras.

and that brings me up to date. today i must go work a bit in the shop and then break down my stuff and bring it home, and also figure out if i’m to have a costume for tomorrow. (it’s not looking like it – no time!)

thanks for reading, and i’m sure i’ll have a post-mardi gras update in a few days. happy mardi gras everyone!

paint the town black & gold

since the whole who dat controversy got resolved (whew! and, oh yeah, f dat, nfl!) earlier this week, saints mania in new orleans has been simmering on, say, a medium flame. not that it ever went away or anything – there’s still been nothing but saints coverage on the tv and radio channels, and most folks i know have carefully planned their wardrobe to sport different black and gold outfits every day of the week – but ya know, it’s been the beginning of the work week and folks are trying to get stuff done before giving in to all the madness this weekend. so it’s been a bit of the calm before the storm.

but today i think we hit that magical point of no return – the saints-in-the-superbowl frenzy has started its climb to absolute fever pitch, which, i imagine, will be reached somewhere between saturday night and sunday evening when the game starts. until, of course, after the game, when we win. then the lid gets completely blown off this sucker!

i generally gauge these things by my online orders, which stepped up again today after a little lull. the day after the saints won the nfc championship (and for a few days after), i sold more than usual of my black and gold items in my etsy shop. and today, it started up again. several orders this morning, and a few others pending. good thing i made four more who dat signs earlier in the week when the weather was good, and printed up some more skull de lis shirts today. and add to that the fact that i’ve been in three football-saints-superbowl related etsy treasuries in the past two days. (i hardly ever make it into any treasuries.)

so yeah. turning up the flame, indeed. which makes sense, since it’s thursday and almost the weekend. i hope the sales continue, cuz this little spurt couldn’t come at a better time for me, financially.

i’ve had a busy work week. my big project was turning four salvaged-out-of-the-trash vintage ice cream parlor chairs (above) into cute gold-with-black-fleur-de-lis chairs, perfect for someone’s superbowl party somewhere. (or wouldn’t these look great in some cute boutique or restaurant?) it was a lot of work, as they had been spray painted flat black by their previous owner (not a good choice for all metal chairs that are probably destined to be outdoor furniture), and painting the twisted metal chair backs and legs of these things was a fun challenge. but i think they turned out beautifully after a few coats of lacquer. they are currently listed on craigslist, so hopefully they will find a new owner soon. please feel free to pass the craigslist link around to your friends or anyone you think might be interested.

meanwhile, we are having a mayoral election on saturday, lest it be forgotten amidst all the football craziness. still being broke, i have sadly not been able to make any contributions to my candidate’s campaign, but if you are less financially strapped and care one iota about the future of this city – even if you don’t live here – please consider making a donation to him in this homestretch time. he could really use it. all i’ve managed to accomplish on his behalf is a lot of tweeting and posting on facebook, and this homemade yard sign:

figured i’d stick with the black and gold theme, instead of traditional campaign blue and white, cuz really, who’s gonna read anything but black and gold on a sign this week? i figured it was the best chance of having anyone notice it. wish i would have gotten around to making more of them, but i never could find a good supply of illegal business signs to appropriate. so yeah, don’t forget to VOTE on saturday if you are registered in orleans parish.

tonight is the last televised mayoral debate. tomorrow, the mardi gras parades begin. fae is in a parade on the west bank on saturday morning (with the big easy rollergirls). a good friend from college will be in town saturday afternoon through monday, and i’d like to get a chance to hang out with him. there’s a saints superbowl second line and pep rally going on in the french market on saturday afternoon. and then there’s all the pre-game hysteria on sunday. i fully imagine there will be people tailgating downtown, even though the game isn’t being played here. i kinda want to ride around and see the sights sunday morning/early afternoon. and then my tribe starts to assemble over at ponce de leon stadium around 3pm. it’s non-stop from here on out, people.

so just enjoy it all. savor these moments, cuz it surely is a magical time here. i still can’t believe it – the saints are in the superbowl!

stay tuned for more reports from the black and gold city.

who dat!!!

#defendwhodat, indeed

who dat signswow, i bet the nfl didn’t realize what a can of woop-ass it was opening up, sending fleurty girl and storyville those cease & desist letters?

for my part, i’m here to tell ya, i’m going to keep making my little salvaged-wood-with-bottlecaps “who dat!” signs as long as people keep buying ’em. and if the nfl comes-a-knockin’, they can have their 10% of the 7 or 8 of these signs i’ve sold since i started making them at the beginning of the season. really. i can probably come up with the change.

but i think it’s all bullshit. they can and i’m sure have copyrighted and/or trademarked their saints’ specific stuff, like their particular fleur de lis, especially when used in conjunction with black and gold colors. and that’s legit. but unless someone is blatantly ripping off the very particular nfl-created saints merch – which i’m sure plenty of those stupid fucking t-shirt shops in the french quarter and in the french market are doing – then there shouldn’t be a problem.

“who dat” is not something the saints team says; it’s something the FANS say. and the nfl doesn’t own the fans. they know damn well it wouldn’t hold up in court, but they also know damn well that little guys (gals) like lauren thom (fleurty girl) can’t afford a big legal battle, so they feel comfortable going after her. but she’s smart, milking this for all the pr she can get, and rallying the who dat nation to her side. if the nfl chooses to go forward with this, they will have a pr nightmare on their hands, and be accused of dampening the spirits of the city who just got their groove back due to their team making it to the superbowl.

really, nfl, is this how you want it to play out? i really don’t think you do. but i guess we’ll see.

**in doing a simple trademark search via the us trademarks and patents office, i don’t see the nfl listed anywhere as having any claim to the term “who dat.” i see a few others listed, as pertains to specific products or usages of the term, but i don’t see the nfl listed.

update: this statement by the monistere brothers, the actual trademark holders of the term “who dat,” via their company who dat inc., was posted this evening. seems like this clears things up.

geaux saints!

wow, it’s hard to even think today, what with all the excitement about the saints game on sunday. my twitter and facebook feeds are afire with who-dat fever and the mainstream media are flooding the interwebs with football-related headlines, trying to outdo each other.

so it seems like a good time for some shameless plugging of my own little bits of saints-inspired craftiness, in case you’ve forgotten:

my skull de lis shirt

yes, i still have a bunch of these tees left. all sizes from small up to 2xl in mens/unisex. they are on gildan 4.5oz ringspun cotton, which fit somewhere in between the boxiness of a standard hanes or fruit of the loom type tee and the form-fittingness of an american apparel tee. great for game day, i tell ya! (i was wearing mine last week when we won, and will be wearing it again on sunday!)

my who dat sign

or maybe you need a little who dat! decor for the house, a little good luck juju for the boys in black and gold? i still have a couple of these signs left, too.

black and gold fleur de lis clock

black and gold skull de lis clock

and of course, there’s always an abundance of black and gold new orleans-themed recycled lp clocks, too, if you’d like some year-round decor. it’s always black and gold time!

for all of the above, click on the pic to order, or get in touch to arrange for pick-up/delivery.

geaux saints! black and gold superbowl!!!