Mardi Gras Weekend – Dimanche Gras, Sunday, February 22, 2009


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Dianne and her gorgeous Lotus (See what writing children's books gets?!) 2-22-09

Dianne and her gorgeous new Lotus (See what writing children's books gets?!) 2-22-09

Friends:

Antonio, my husband, and I were invited to a Dimanche Gras luncheon with some friends. After having drinks at the Hotel Monteleone Carousel bar in the French Quarter, we walked to Antoine’s restaurant. The food was superb. I had the terre pomme souffle (puffed potatoes) for an appetizer, traditional grits and grillades (made with veal) for an entree’, and cheesecake for dessert. Here is the entire gang. Thank, you Harold (Rex Rihner 2026) for an incredible lunch!

The Dimanche Gras Luncheon at Antoine's in the 1840's room 2-22-09

The Dimanche Gras Luncheon at historic Antoine's Restaurant in the 1840's room 2-22-09

Afterward, we walked through the French Quarter and strolled Bourbon Street. It was teeming with Mardi Gras revelers.

Bourbon Street is packed 2-22-09

Bourbon Street is packed 2-22-09

Natives and tourists alike love the party atmosphere during Mardi Gras.

Bourbon Street balcony 2-22-09

Bourbon Street balcony 2-22-09

Antonio and I enjoyed our stroll through the French Quarter. I even sang karaoke at The Cat’s Meow!

Dianne & Antonio on Bourbon Street 2-22-09

Dianne & Antonio on Bourbon Street 2-22-09

Then it was on to view the Bacchus parade. Bacchus (the Roman God of Wine) is the night parade that rules on the Sunday before Mardi Gras. We went with our friends to the Hotel Intercontinental, where we had tickets to the Grand Stand, an elevated viewing stand that allows spectators better access to the carnival floats.

Bacchus Float 2-22-09

Bacchus Float 2-22-09

Bacchus is the parade that set the stage for today’s “super krewes.” In 1968, twelve New Orleans businessmen gathered to explore new directions for Mardi Gras parades. What resulted was super floats and national celebrity monarchs. This year’s theme was “Creatures of the Imagination.” The gorgeous, colorfully illuminated floats are manned by over 1,300 masked riders.

Bacchus Hydra float 2-22-09

Bacchus Hydra float 2-22-09

Bacchus boasted 34 floats this year and throws included light up frisbees (I caught one), footballs, medallion beads, and doubloons in three colors.

Bacchus Phoenix float 2-22-09

Bacchus Phoenix float 2-22-09

Staple floats in the Bacchus parade (floats that appear every year) are the Kong family (King Kong, Queen Kong and Baby Kong), the Bacchasaurus, the Bacchagator (110 feet long), and the Bacchawhoppa (a giant whale).

Bacchus King Kong float 2-22-09

Bacchus King Kong float 2-22-09

It has been tradition for parade goers to throw beads at the Kong family and try to get their beads to stay on the float. As a result, the floats get pretty beat up.

Baby Kong float 2-22-09

Baby Kong float 2-22-09

The floats were just breathtaking. So much artistry and craftsmanship go into creating each float. Take a look at this monstrous float.

Bacchus Alien float 2-22-09

Bacchus Alien float 2-22-09

Here is a float that looks like a giant crawfish. I’m not really sure what imaginary creature this might be. Any guesses?

Bacchus Crawfish? float 2-22-09

Bacchus Crawfish? float 2-22-09

High school marching bands punctuate the parade route, entertaining crowds between floats. They jam and create a fun frenzy that adds to the carnival spirit. It is quite an honor to be selected to march in a Mardi Gras parade, particularly the New Orleans Mardi Gras weekend parades. The bands march the entire parade route, many of them hauling heavy instruments. It’s amazing to see them perform, knowing they have marched for hours on end. We so appreciate our high school marching bands!

A high school band marches in Bacchus 2-22-09

A high school band marches in Bacchus 2-22-09

Here is Bacchasaurus, a huge dinosaur float that makes his appearance in every Bacchus parade. Bacchasaurus is a Bacchus tradition.

Bacchasaurus 2-22-09

Bacchasaurus 2-22-09

This next float was one of my favorites. He was a “one-eyed, one-horn, flying purple people eater…”

Bacchus Purple People Eater float 2-22-09

Bacchus Purple People Eater float 2-22-09

Bacchus was a fun parade and I met so many nice people. Hi Mary and Lee from Sugar Land, Texas! And there was so much more to come!

Bacchus Yeti float 2-22-09

Bacchus Yeti float 2-22-09

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne