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new orleans mardi gras, bourbon and royal street -- viewer discretion advised

2011-03-10 - 9:05 p.m.

all photos � 2011 by elaine radford

I have deleted most of these photos

Mardi Gras New Orleans 2011, and everyone was there -- the Space Brothers, Moammar Qaddafi, Elvii of every age and species, the Pope, and a guy with a string of dead birds around his neck and two other guys with pink flamingoes on their heads. Considering the pink flamingo guys were also wearing pink poodle skirts, maybe they were the young Moammar Qaddafi, if he had an evil twin, tee hee. Mostly we stood around drinking and, from time to time, I held my camera up over my head and randomly snapped a picture. Finally, we thought it might rain, so we strolled home whilst giggling at all the cars backed up in traffic. I hope that my photos capture a tiny slither of the spirit and color of the day.

So, my days of wearing that sort of costume are probably over, but you've got to admire the gonads (and the physical shape) of these folks. The Eighties might be over, but they won't give into time just yet.

There were "frugal" costumers here and there, whose choice of costume was white boxer shorts and white tennis shoes, and that's it. Good thing it was a warmish day! However, this very large group -- I'd say that there were at least two dozen of them -- fell back on the Halloween frugal classic of throwing on a sheet and calling it a costume. But since it's Mardi Gras, the theme isn't ghosts; it's "sheet."

Not sure of the theme of this costumed couple. Hot Vegas showgirl with tacky tourist from New Jersey?

OK, he got me. When I first saw him skating down the street, I thought he was an actual balloon seller. However, as the day went on, and hour after hour, he didn't actually sell any balloons, I finally figured out that it was just a costume. Duh, me.

Ah, back to the Fifties, when "Rocket Cone" was a bra size. "I dreamed I wore my Maidenform..." or maybe not quite?

There were lots of topical costumes, such as Oil Spill Elvis ("Don't be Crude") and the usual assortment of Middle Eastern dictators on the lam from their troubles. However, my pick for best topical costume of the day was this TSA screener. The only trouble is that his costume was a little too explicit for my page. I'm afraid that I decided to pixilate out the plastic ta-tas and the (very long) plastic length of, erm, rubber hose, let's call it. One lady claimed that the, erm, rubber hose was capable of shooting out an, erm, cream rinse-like product but, if so, I didn't see it in action. Mostly, the guy was just leering and smacking and luring tourists into the frame of the TSA "nude-o-scope" so that they could take a funny photo. I guess if you want to see the real thing, you'll have to come down next year, and see if he does it again. Or maybe just take a visit to your nearest airport...

Most people will pose for you for free. However, the Hand Grenade guy was actually an employee of the Tropical Isle, hustling Hand Grenade drinks, one of which DH is sipping from the radioactive green Hand Grenade commemorative glass. Well, a plastic glass. Not a glass glass, because alcohol is only legal out on the street when it's wrapped in plastic. (When I was younger, it also had to be wrapped in a brown paper bag. The march of progress!) Be that as it may, this guy probably hoped to be tending bar on a busy Mardi Gras, instead of wearing a hand grenade costume and guarding a door. He clutched a tip jar, so I gave him a dollar for this photo. It seemed to be the standard.

Look closely, and you might figure out why the disgruntled HD shareholder might have snapped this photo.

Another colorful street scene. I actually have way too many photos and got tired of editing them, but you get the general idea.

In the interests of authenticity or something like it, the mature hippie parade had apparently lit up some patchouli incense in addition to the (fake) spliffs. I mean, it's still Louisiana. Actually, once or twice, I thought I caught a whiff of the real thing, but people are not real open about it anymore, haven't been since Reagan.

Some guys grow up wanting to be a nun, some want to be a Martian, but some just want to have pink flamingoes on their heads. It matches the pink socks, ya know?

Pretty sure somebody in the St. Tammany's sheriff department would pop a blood vessel if I put out this welcome mat, but it fit right in near the edge of the French Quarter.

Some atmospheric oak trees near the Degas house that we enjoyed during our stroll back to the house.

A grand old dame of a house festooned with her Mardi Gras beads...

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