In the few weeks we have been here, there have already been several festivals and parades. Not to mention, that every day, and every night until the small hours of the morning, there is an ongoing street party in the French Quarter. A lot of the reveling is done by tourists, but it seems that many residents in New Orleans just have a “joie de vie” and dance, laugh, eat and drink at every opportunity, and if the opportunity does not exist, will do so anyway.
There is also a darker side to New Orleans. Since we have been here, there have been somewhere between 15 and 20 armed robberies, many occurring on Halloween night. The murder rate here is also quite high, especially among young black men. We have seen people openly carrying guns, and had one streetcar ride late at night with someone openly carrying a gun with a fairly large magazine of bullets. We were a little rattled and were glad when we made it safely home.
Krewe of Boo Parade
This parade occurred in the French Quarter the weekend before Halloween. Several floats, bands and groups of dancers moved down the streets, throwing candy and Mardi Gras necklaces at the crowds lining the streets. It was lovely to see all the “big” women, and in fact people of all shapes, colors, ages and sizes, wearing corsets, fishnets and leotards with self confidence while dancing down the street. Many of them looked quite beautiful.
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
This was held on the Sunday before the Halloween weekend where Oak Street was blocked off and filled with one booth after another selling a variety of Po-boys. A Po-Boy is basically a sandwich made of french bread and stuffed with a variety of things, crawfish, shrimp, crab, alligator, duck, shredded beef or pork, sausage and chicken…. the list goes on. Often there is a creamy sauce included, but pretty much anything goes into the sandwich and it is delicious. Don’t be counting calories at this festival!
Voodoo Fest at City Park
This festival was a three day event and ran the three days over the weekend just before Halloween. Our warning that we did not belong there should have been that when we looked at the line up, we did not recognize one band playing. We arrived at the event in a large city park to realize we were one of the few sets of people over 30 years of age. Almost everyone else was mid twenties and under. It is similar to the Coachella event that they hold in the desert in California, in that there are four stages with bands “playing” simultaneously. Some kind of techno music and am not sure that actual live bands were playing or if the music was all simulated. A lot of people jumping up and down on stage behind a counter of equipment. OK, it confirmed I was getting old.
We did not stay very long, but did really enjoy the people watching. There were many dressed up in costume, and the young energy was contagious.
New Orleans is a really wonderful place to spend Halloween, as this city, with its Voodoo history, ghost stories and beautiful homes that look like they come straight out of a horror movie set, really lends itself to making a perfect setting for this holiday. Many people take the day of Halloween off, to have time to get ready for the big night. They take this holiday seriously.
We stayed at the house we were renting for the early evening so we could hand out candy to the Trick and Treaters. They were adorable, and our hostess, who owns the house we are staying in was great company as we sat on the porch and watched the young ones come and go after getting some candy.
We missed the Halloween Parade in the French Quarter, but not the party. By the time we got there, the streets of the French Quarter were just one big party, with food and alcohol everywhere, and saw some very creative costumes.
OK, so I am partied out for awhile. Need a break before the next round of celebrations start next week. Much to my horror, the day after Halloween, the Christmas decorations went up! I am not ready, yet!!!!