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new orleans beads story.

i forgot to write about this, and i need to because i think it's a great story.

for those that only get the outside perspective on the mardi gras beads (throw) tradition, receiving beads and throws during mardi gras is not all about showing titties. Sure, if you go to the quarter you can get some of that, but move to the garden district side and uptown side, and you realize that throws from the floats are much more about tradition. You see kids with the large step ladder that their momma got for them to try to catch beads in the same way that they did when they were kids. you see middle-aged and older men and women aggressively push right out to the front to catch as many beads as possible to put into their prepared paper shopping bags so they can add to their 20-years-of-mardi-gras attic collection. &c.

one of the unspoken traditions about throw-catching is that you have to actually catch it. If it hits the ground, it doesn't count, you lost it, you have to leave it. that makes it fun too, a friendly mardi gras competition tradition with friends or regulars to see who can actually Catch more throws.

The Tulane University Marching Band played in the Saints Opening Game Parade two thursdays ago. It didn't have the same sort of Historicism that the Saints Victory Parade had, but it was still a fun time and a fun crowd. Behind us was a float that was throwing out beads, some of which were custom beads to this particular parade.

At one point we were stopped. I was back with the drumline, just chilling out, and the float behind us was hyping up the crowd in the meantime, playing Crunk and throwing beads out to the crowd, which was on either side of us (we were directly in front). While this was happening, suddenly i saw a throw of beads fly over the top of the *front* of the float. Someone on the float decided to do a random toss in the actual parade path, which is rare since you're not throwing to the parade participants.

i saw it arc towards me. As it got closer, i realized it was coming right for me. I put my hand out just shorter than full arm's length, and it plopped straight into my hand. I consciously remember that i didn't even have to move my feet.

you can't choreograph those moments more perfectly than that.

no one saw it happen. and in a way that made it better. it makes it in my mind a more intimate thing between the random bead thrower who had no idea where s/he was throwing to and to me. it creates a memory that will be etched into my brain for years to come that i'll tell with great enthusiasm and everyone will smile and nod and inside think that i'm crazy for being so excited about it.

And that's the other part of mardi gras and new orleans in general, i think; that those sorts of things are designed to create stories and memories that may hold meaning to one person or a small group or a large group of people for the rest of their lives.

it's pretty fantastic.

life, i mean. life is pretty fantastic.


( read spoken (1) — speak )
Sep. 27th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
this is incredibly written and captivating. made me realize something about myself.

( read spoken (1) — speak )


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