by angeliska on March 1, 2009

It’s always so strange- the feeling of traveling a long way
in the course of a day. A morning, and then an afternoon pass
on the journey and I am hurtled across these old familiar highways
back to a place that still calls me home. It felt like landing on
another planet, though. Backwardsville. The streets somehow all reversed,
and I emerge from the car with my head on upside-down, my eyes crossed.
Naturally, the first thing we do upon arriving is head to a parade.
Downtown is a mess of color and bodies and the wafting grease and sugar
aromas from the glare of the food-carts. I am utterly overwhelmed.

This is the first picture I took when I got New Orleans.
I was light-headed with hunger and flashing lights from
shopping carts loaded with one thousand LED swords
and medallions and wands and gewgaws- but I hate eating
while standing or walking, especially when I really need to
concentrate on it. I like to focus on my meal, very slowly.

In the end the lure of the corn dog won out. I’m not ashamed.
It was magical. How could I forget how delicious?
My six-year-old self was totally gratified, and begrimed with mustard.

Louie let me take his picture. He and his sister May have been running
this stand for 50 years. Every parade is etched into their faces, which
were impossible to capture. They were my favorite part of the night.

Have you ever been to a big parade during carnival season?
This video is from 1941- I suppose not all that much has changed,
except everyone really dressed so much better of course.
Even the people not in costume look pretty fabulous.

They are beyond surreal. I love the crazy floats and the marching bands.

I know a lot of people who make their living building and painting
these floats all year- I love how old fashioned they are, still shining
with painstakingly applied gold and silver leaf. Some are satirical,
but most are just beautiful- you have to drink it all in quick as it goes by..

In the morning I wandered over to my dear friend Miss Raven’s house,
where we broke our fast on poached eggies and fruit salad and
caramel tea. Afterwards I experimented with my new camera,
peering at all of her treasures. The doll above is named Elspet,
and she suffers from acute elephantiasis of the lower extremities.

This dress used to belong to Mae West!

Masks and horns and mourning maidens..

Monsters loom overhead- beware!

Raven’s kitchen is one of my favorites- I ought to have tried to capture it,
and all the shades of green, but my breakfast distracted me.
I loved watching this arrangement of flowers and feathers on
the kitchen table be plucked at over the course of the holiday
and transformed into various headdresses and other adornments..

Isn’t this setting crazy? Lily magic! Cloud-cuckoo land!
I really had to figure out the camera quickly,
and I have to say- I am falling in love with it.
More evidence of this to be revealed very soon indeed!

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