Mardi Gras Day mshollie and I avoided the big parades and crowded tourist areas, staying in Marigny and the lower French Quarter. After mimosas at a friend's place we visited a few places around Marigny where revelers gather. The Society of Saint Anne seems to have split into two parts this year; I've heard various conflicting stories as to what was up with that. We caught at least a good bit of both.
For out of town readers, in addition to the big parades schedualed in the carnival guides and the paper, there are many delightful groups of various degrees of formality walking or rolling around the streets of a number of neighborhoods with impressive costumes &/or live bands &/or human propelled mini-floats. Some have been around for generations, others come and go each year. Saint Anne is one of the finest with the first two attributes.
We also caught Mondo Kayo and a group I hadn't heard of before but enjoyed, the "Krewe of Grotesque and Outlandish Habiliments". We spent some hours parading with the "Krewe of Kosmic Debris" and I played with the Pair-O-Dice Tumbers band. At Jackson Square the Krewe of Jieuxs passed through. Later we caught a group I don't know the name of with a band and a dance troupe all with "13" on their hats (from the 13th Ward?)
nola_photos has a number of posts by me and others with pix of this year's Mardi Gras.
I didn't catch the Panorama Band on Mardi Gras Day. Here's a YouTube video of them heading down Charters from Jackson Square doing one of their Eastern European tunes. (via Adrastos) I did catch the Panorama with, IIRC, the Knights of Chaos parade. Thoth needs to have them again next year!
I also caught Panorama yesterday, for the memorial "jazz funeral" for Helen Hill. We gathered at Helen and Pauly's pre-K home in Mid City. I guestimate about 200 people, 2 bands -- the Panorama and the Hot 8-- and multiple tv news cameras. Helen's brother was grand marshal and her close friends Shari and Burgin dressed as clowns-- no drab all black parade for Helen. Many cupcakes were handed out. We marched some 2 & 1/2 miles to Ernie K-Doe's Mother In Law Lounge on Claiborne by the back of Treme. Most of the route is still pretty devastated from the aftermath of the great Federal levee breaches.
Panorama played some beautiful dirges at the start, then lots of New Orleans tunes. I brought my trombone to help send off Helen but other than the lead in and out choruses mostly stayed out of the way as Panorama has some beautiful head arrangements with unusual instrumentation-- about the only band around here where you still hear such old style instruments as alto and baritone horns (not meaning saxes). They also played some of their Eastern European numbers, then at the end did a rousing version of The Troublemaker's number "Emma Goldman".
Edit: YouTube of a short bit of a dirge at the start and YouTube with short bit of "Emma Goldman" at the end, the later with a 1 second view of yours frogly.
While I was at the "jazz funeral" Ms. Hollie was helping run the Miss Crescent City Pagent down at the CAC. We met back here afterwards. I caught sight of myself on the channel 4 tv news coverage of the memorial.