The Un-Mardi Gras

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1988, my last Mardi Gras living in New Orleans. For once I was wearing something that might charitably be called a costume. I had dismembered a baby doll and used its legs on my chest and its arms wired as a headpiece so I could go as a King Cake baby. King Cake baby, look it up. People were actually disturbed by baby doll limbs, which delighted me.

Cancelled and cold. If that doesn’t just describe the saddest Mardi Gras ever.

Repeat offenders of this blog may recall that I love Mardi Gras and the Carnival season that precedes it with an untrammeled passion. Carnival was literally the reason I moved to New Orleans, possibly the best decision I ever made and one that changed my life for the better. I reasoned that since I relished Mardi Gras so much it would just be easier for it to come to me instead of the other way around.

And once I was in place, I was delighted to find out Fat Tuesday is the just the cherry on top of a month of giddy good times, the parades and balls and parties and general whoop-ti-do that fill the city. New Orleans is always ready for a drink and a laugh but never as much as during Carnival.

The whole month before is busy with planning, Planning your costume (or planning to plan it and then never getting around to it was my usual technique,) planning for navigating the traffic nightmare that the parades engendered, planning a lie to get out of work, and planning on how to indulge in a non-stop sexual frenzy, but still have time to be out on the streets enjoying the chaos there.

Oh my, the sexual shenanigans of pre-AIDS queer Mardi Gras. In the debrief following one, my dear friend Webb, god bless his bent little soul, one time reported back that he had spent the entire afternoon up on a pool table getting butt fucked by a roving troupe of sodomites. The crowds are so immense that cops pretty much shrug off misbehavior like that and focus more on the army of drunk college kids out on the sidewalks. After a few hours, Webb decided to shove off, but when he climbed down from the table, he couldn’t find his pants, so he just hopped back upon the table (“I had to push this one queen off to make room”) and rode out the rest of the day. So to speak.

So yeah, hearing that the entire madness has been put on Stop-That-You-Dumb-Bitch makes me sad. I know for the many, many fans of Mardi Gras this is like telling a 6 year old there will be no Christmas this year. I feel for you sweetie, but pull your pants up, if you can find them, and start planning for next time because you know 2022 is going to fierce.

Men who just have to let the good times roll.

There’s always somebody grabbing, come Mardi Gras

About mrpeenee

A former bon vivant and terror of a number of New Orleans bars in the mad, gay 1980s, I'm now quietly retired and widowed in San Francisco. I have a crooked nose due to an unfortunate Frisbee accident.

13 responses »

  1. Ah, yes, the dim and distant memories of being used as a fairground ride (or riding one)… Sigh.

    Sounds like you spent as much time looking forward to, and planning for, Mardi Gras as we do for Gay Pride here in London! We literally have wardrobes full of outlandish costume accoutrements ready and waiting (if we can fit into any of ’em) for an airing once life gets back to “normal”.

    Nice bead-work! Jx

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    • None of the “costumes” I would randomly pull together ever lasted the whole day. There was a lot of wear and tear on them; like I said in the last photo, somebody is always grabbing something.

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  2. It’s a good thing Mardi Gras was cancelled this year. We wouldn’t want those guys flashing for beads in this weather — they’d all get frostbite!

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