Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween in New Orleans

Living on the outer fringe of habitable New Orleans, on the edge of darkness, there is a surreal quality to the city. Life is returning to some semblance of normalcy for people who live in areas that didn't flood - although "normalcy" is a relative term in New Orleans lately - one doesn't have to travel far to witness the total devastation that is the norm for something like 80 percent of New Orleans.

While New Orleanians are a bred with a pride in their civilized domesticity, their character is also colored by a unique fascination and affinity for the profane. The latter quality is best witnessed during Carnival season and Halloween.

Although notably reduced in the numbers of participants, this year's Halloween festivities seemed to be infected with a little more feral energy than in other years, perhaps because locals needed to release some pent up frustration, or maybe because only the freaks survived.

Lots of people wore waders, lifesavers, snorkels, and flood-marked clothes, but I expected to see more people dressed up as stinky refrigerators and blue-tarped roofs, or roasting government officials. Creativity was in shorter supply this year, but the energy was extraordinary.

Here are some photos from the Halloween festivities in the French Quarter.

This year, Molly's eclipsed Cafe Brazil as the gathering place for people in costume. The revelry was especially maniacal when compared to years past. Drivers who turned onto Decatur Street were in for a very rude awakening - they must have been out-of-towners, because no local would attempt such a thing. The scene was somehow amusing for the exaggerated acts of otherworldly exoticism visited upon the intruders forcing their way through the crowd in their vehicles - which included a fire truck and a National Guard humvee - but was also tinged with a bit of wickedness.

Savory Simon is one local character who may not survive Katrina. I've heard that Hubig's Pies, the maker of the favorite dessert snack among locals for generations, is in financial trouble.

Trick, or treat?

Sure, it looks cool - but can you imagine how funky it must be to have your head inside that thing?

Sporting highwaters, Michael Brown, President Bush's "Brownie," a real sh**-head to locals, made an appearance.

The sign reads "FEMA: Failure to effectively manage anything. Where's the flood?"

Ahh ... the omni-present "palmetto bug" is one thing that hasn't been seen much since the Katrina, and for most of us, that's one positive outcome. Unfortunately, in places that didn't flood, they can still be found.

Saving the best for last - the orgy on Decatur Street would not have been nearly as convincing were it not for the bizarre couple off to the side playing fiendish tribal music on homemade instruments.

Here's a WMV movie of the performers with audio.

There are more Halloween photos at NOLA.com, and the AP.


At 11/02/2005 07:09:00 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

Very cool pictures! Your comment about turning on to Decatur is funny because you just know people are going to climb on top of those cars

Spitting in a Wishing Well

At 11/02/2005 07:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool! You certainly did save the best for last.

You know, you're making me want to head down to New Orleans, and I've never really had the desire to visit there before. Maybe it's just the brash survivalism of the people there, but I really respect those folks. And you.


At 11/03/2005 10:15:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Thanks Mixter, but ... er ... pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


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