Sunday, February 14, 2010

The run to the finish

The last few days have been a whirlwind of excitement in the city. Tuesday's parade honoring the world champion New Orleans Saints was unlike any ever held before. That's a lot to consider because, after all, this is a town known for putting on parades. The cooperative effort by several Carnival krewes who "loaned" Barry Kern of Blaine Kern Productions twelve floats on which the team owners, players and coaches would ride was unlike anything ever seen in New Orleans. It was the biggest parade ever held in downtown New Orleans and the track took only a couple of miles. Estimates were that 800,000 fans came into the downtown area to cheer on the boys in black and gold. That's incredible when you consider that the latest census estimates have the New Orleans population at a little over 300,000. Usually, the celebration of Carnival intensifies in the last week leading up to Mardi Gras. This year is decidedly different. The Saints celebration party brought out every politician to Gallier Hall including both U.S. Senators, the governor, the mayor, the entire city council and most of the legislators who hold sway in Baton Rouge. Since that parade set a very high mark, the pattern could be likened to a rollercoaster ride that starts at the top, quickly plummets and then must start the climb back to the top. Wednesday the Krewe of Ancient Druids rolled through the city and I was there to announce the parade at Gallier Hall. The night before there were thousands there. The Druids parade with a theme titled "Holes" offered a funny exposition for a determined crowd that braved chilly winds in the Crescent City on Wednesday. Thursday's night parades were rained out, which mean the cancellation of the Knights of Chaos satirical parade and the postponement of the Krewes of Muses and the Knights of Babylon. Muses rolled last on Friday night's in what were four different parades one behind the other. Babylon chose to reschedule for Sunday in the morning. Yesterday's day parades include the Krewe of Iris, the oldest women's Carnival organization and I was pleased to be selected to provide music for a special group of ladies in the 25 float presentation. The spectacular Krewe of Endymion parade paralyzed the city last night on what has become known in recent times as Samedi Gras. The krewe featured Saints owner Tom Benson as the grand marshall and the 2400-plus members enjoyed the Endymion Extravaganza until the wee hours of the morning. It is only fitting that the announcer for Endymion is none other than Jerry Romig, the Saints announcer for the past 42 years and the announcer for Endymion since it began. So, I must leave to attend duties for announcing at Gallier Hall the four parades for today: the Knights of Babylon resecheduled from the rainout on Thursday night, the Krewe of Okeanos, the Krewe of Mid City and the second largest Carnival organization, the Krewe of Thoth.

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