Yesterday it dawned on me that Mardi Gras is only 60 days away (Yes, it comes crazy early this year). Part of the reason for this revelation was that twice in recent days I've had friends inquire about visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras -- should they do it, what days should they come, where should they stay, etc.? The answer to the most basic question -- should they visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras -- is, of course, the easiest to answer: hell yes. It truly is something everyone should experience at least once in life. You can't really understand it until you experience it, which means you'll probably misunderstand it until you do actually experience it. It's not the incoherent, drunken mess it's stereotyped to be. I mean, it can be, if that's what you want it be, but more than anything it's a multi-day celebration of life. At least that's what it is to me.
Anyway, I encouraged my inquiring friends to come for Mardi Gras and passed along some recommendations. And then it dawned on me that some of you UPROXX readers might be interested in such things as well, since a lot of you seem like the types who would enjoy the hell out of Mardi Gras. I also know from us doing occasional music posts on bands that were popular in the 90s that a lot of you also have an affinity for bands that were popular in the 90s. Which leads me to this...
Remember Better than Ezra? Well, though they've maybe been off your radar for a while, they're still a steadily working band with a dedicated following. And guess what? They're from New Orleans! And, even better, they've all been friends of mine for a few years now. Anyway, a couple of years ago -- probably inspired by the same type of seemingly endless Mardi Gras-related inquiries like the ones I get from friends -- the guys in the band decided to start doing a thing every Mardi Gras where they basically play tour guide for visiting fans over a three day period at the height of Mardi Gras, something they call the Krewe of Rocckus.
Now, I hung out with the band and their KOR guests a bit last year during Mardi Gras, so I got a first-hand glimpse of the tour, for lack of a better term. In the course of this, I saw them perform shows, bring in other 90s bands to perform with them (Tonic and Collective Soul, specifically), host dinners catered by some of the city's best chefs, host a riverboat food and booze cruise, arrange for front row viewing stations along parade routes, arrange a second line down St. Charles led by the Treme Brass Band...I could go on and on. The attendees basically just showed up and had an incredible Mardi Gras experience completely laid out for them, and they got to hang out with some of the favorite 90s band folk the whole time as well. Here's a video on the event they put together after the first one they did in 2011...
So if you're thinking about coming to Nola for Mardi Gras in 2013, you can find more info about the Krewe of Rocckus on the website the BTE guys set up for it (Sister Hazel will be part of the Krewe this year). Added bonus: I'll be hosting a dinner party thing for out of town guests over Mardi Gras weekend. If you're an UPROXX reader, consider yourself invited if you're in town. Just drop me a line to let me know and I'll tell you where to go.
With all of that said, on the following pages are a few of my favorite memories from Mardi Gras 2012.
On the first night I did anything during last Mardi Gras season (the Krewe du Vieux parade, my favorite one of all) my friend Skye snapped the pic below of Mr. Woo, the resident cat at Molly's in the Quarter, having a drink at the bar. I posted it to my Tumblr and it went viral. Gambit, the local alt-weekly wrote a story about it titled, "Local cat achieves global internet fame." Naturally, some f*ckface on Reddit tried to steal it and claim it as their own.
Skye and I took a pedicab home from the parade that night and got into a race with a man in a wheelchair being pulled by a dog...
My aforementioned friend Skye caught a rubber penis at one of the parades. It was her favorite catch.
There's an all-female parade called the Krewe Of Muses. The ladies who ride in the parade spend all year decorating shoes. I caught one for the first time in 2012.
I must have attended a dozen crawfish boils last Mardi Gras. It was awesome.
RIP Uncle Lionel of the Treme Brass Band. I took this pic of him just prior to the Krewe of Rocckus second line he and the band led. Turned out to be one of his last.
A buddy of mine's family throws a big party on the Friday before Mardi Gras each year. The kitchen crew from Drago's comes to their house to cook oysters for about 200 guests. It's amazing.
I took this from backstage at one of the Better Than Ezra shows at the House of Blues.
Will Ferrell, aka King Bacchus...
I took this sitting in my courtyard exhausted at the end of the last day of Mardi Gras 2012, Mardi Gras day itself. It was one of the best times of my life.