The Failure to Plan Blues
CHASING THE BLUES, CHAPTER 2: NEW ORLEANS
With its rich cultural tapestry, New Orleans was a logical place to begin our search for blues music. However, our day started with a different kind of hunt. First stop was the expansive Metairie Cemetery, the largest in New Orleans with an impressive collection of Italianate, Gothic and classical marble tombs and elaborate statuary.
|Angel of Grief inside Hyams mausoleum|
Fortunately, the Bestoff Sculpture Garden behind the museum was open and busy with visitors strolling through its handsome five acres of pathways winding through moss-draped trees and across lagoons, a beautiful setting for the museum's excellent collection of contemporary sculpture. One of Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE sculptures is featured prominently and quite popular.
|At 72" square, this aluminum version of LOVE is half the size of the steel original at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.|
|Live oak in City Park|
Our next stop was Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World, a working warehouse where the fanciful and imposing floats for New Orleans carnival parades are built and stored. Heading across the Mississippi to Algiers on the west bank, where Mardi Gras World was located when I visited it with our yaya girls in 2005, we decided to check the exact address in the GPS. That's when we uncovered another time-wasting, traffic-choking error that a little planning could have prevented.
|Mardi Gras World|
|Peacock and phoenix, among the many works in progress at Kern Studios|
|Former stars of Mardi Gras floats|
|"Awakening of Flowers" float from a 2015 parade|
After dinner at a prosaic but convenient Thai restaurant near the hotel, we found ourselves ready to call it a day, exhausted from our day of haphazard roaming of the city. We were both in bed before 9 p.m., too tired to go hear music tonight.
Surprising Facts We Learned about New Orleans Mardi Gras
- No corporate sponsors or advertising are permitted on floats or swag thrown from floats. (by law)
- Float riders must be masked at all times. (by law)
- Mardi Gras Day is the only day when street masking is legal in the city (from dawn to dusk).
- The same float cannot be used in the CBD more than twice in the same season. (by law)
- The city hires chronically unemployed to help with parade cleanup. (150 persons/night)
More Photos from Today
|Window with Ladder—Too Late for Help by Leandro Ehrlich|
|Corridor Pin by Claes Oldenburg|
|Stone bridge, City Park|
|MardiGras World inhabitants|
|A dragonfly hatches in Kern Studios|
|Fanciful float features|