Mardi Gras in New Orleans is always an amazing spectacle for costumes, floats and bands. But there are Carnival celebrations around the world, and The Atlantic has posted two amazing slideshows. There are some local photos (including one by frequent Gambit contributor Jonathan Bachman), but locals may want to check out the floats that roll down the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro - they are larger than most New Orleans homes - and have a look at some of the European Carnival celebrations (Venice, Lucerne, Nice, Croatia) and their unique features. If you were thinking about going to Crested Butte, Colo.'s Mardi Gras, one photo here should dissuade you. Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago, however, are quite impressive (although maybe not the mudfest in Parati, Brazil).
For those who can't get enough of local Mardi Gras, check out the long slideshow posted by local photographer and Creole String Bean guitarist Rick Olivier.
Yesterday we told you about Jackass star Bam Margera's detention by New Orleans police on Lundi Gras — which, Margera said, stemmed from his refusal to leave a hotel pool (he was fully clothed at the time).
Today we have the NOPD's side of things, which also spells out where the incident occurred: at Hotel Le Marais on Conti Street in the French Quarter. NOPD spokesperson Remi Braden explains in an email:
Bam Margera of “Jackass” was briefly detained at the Eight District station on Lundi Gras. He jumped into the hotel pool at the Hotel Le Marais fully-clothed. Hotel staff got one of our officers who was working a detail for the hotel, and the officer escorted Margera out of the pool area. Margera was then taken to the 8th District, where he was questioned about the incident, and a possible “disturbing the peace” charge. But soon a hotel manager came to the station and said the hotel did not wish to press charges.
At this point, Margera was released with the manager. This is a closed case.
Margera had been in town for a fundraiser Sunday night at Republic, the "Boobies Bash":
Recently we hosted visitors from San Francisco, Buddhists, who live and share the wise teachings worldwide and yet visited the Gulf South for the first time just this month, perhaps doubting America has anything more to offer outside of our national parks, other than strip malls and generic housing developments. The beautiful people, inside and out, lived with us for a short time, and our 1835 Creole townhouse, a structure haunted by the ghosts of slaves, prostitutes, French nobility, and famous authors, near-floated with their presence.
In honor of our culture, they wavered from their vegetarianism at Sal’s Seafood on the West Bank (a running joke, since they returned from Jordan and the “real” West Bank the previous week), with prayers of thanks over every sea creature, as our devout guests learned to pick crabs and peel shrimp.
“You’re having a beer at 11:00 a.m.?” they asked, amused. I motioned to the salty crabs, shrugged my shoulders, and they joined me.
Louisiana — the people and the place — surprised our visitors. They promised to return, spend more time, and bring their daughter. As I dropped them at the airport and we hugged good-bye, they asked,
“Now we’re curious. Is there anything unique about Mississippi and Alabama?”
According to Margera, the trouble began when NOPD officers ordered him to get out of a hotel swimming pool due to the fact he was swimming with clothes and shoes on — whereupon he ignored them and continued to do the backstroke. (Ignoring an NOPD command during Mardi Gras is a stunt worthy of Jackass, frankly.) In Margera's telling, officers threatened to use a Taser on him (which the "hotel lady" was all for), but another employee convinced the gendarmerie that Taser + water = electrocution.
Regarding the alleged incident (what's the opposite of skinnydipping?), Margera told TMZ, "I don't think there's a crime in that, because my dad's fat and he goes in the pool with his T-shirt on."
We've requested comment from the NOPD. Meanwhile, here's the Margera side of things, and it's New Orleans-weird enough to be Nicolas Cageworthy ...
If ever there was a reason for lasik…, I thought to myself as I struggled with my glasses, barely touching my nose over enormous feathered hot pink eyelashes and a mandatory mask, all negotiated around a plunger-like stocking cap and a bouffant Big Bird-yellow Fifi Mahony’s custom-designed wig.
For more than twelve hours my brain gathered heat and suspended reality as I posed for pictures, danced and sang with hundreds of costumed Muses, and tossed beads, shoes and blinky trinkets from a papier mache float. It was exhausting, expensive, and, to some, flippantly insane. It was, as my nephews would say, awesome.
I join thousands of other float riders and parade goers in loving Mardi Gras. However, we all understand that this much fun takes hard work. Throughout the ride and for weeks preceding, we warn each other, relentlessly:
The plastic, fantastic Facebook star, King Cake Baby, sits down with us for an exclusive, one-on-one interview, revealing his thoughts on Mayor Landrieu and Chief Serpas’ Mardi Gras behavior press conference, non-impregnated king cakes and life as a celebrity.
1. Tell us about your wildest Mardi Gras.
My wildest Mardi Gras better always be the next Mardi Gras! But to be truthful, since my "birth" in 2010, I haven't been available to attend many Mardi Grases ... Grasis? (I'm a small plastic baby, it’s hard enough typing without having to worry about spelling as well.) Actually, I was supposed to be tagging along with a buddy last year, but I never made it out of his pants pocket. So I would call this Mardi Gras my first real one. I should be easy to spot somewhere along St. Charles Avenue.
2. How do you prepare for Carnival season?
Lots of crunches and tushy exercises. I don't know if you are aware, but I don't wear clothes. (Actually, you probably are aware of that.) So it means I'm usually mooning someone or showing off my Full Monty. I also do my best on Facebook to show off Carnival-themed photos and offer up smart-ass ideas like bacon-flavored king cake, which is the best idea ever, and if in 2013 no one is selling them, well they're Jeremy Shockey stupid.
In the latest set of snaps from our weeklong series, "Endymion's Progress," we find that it's not just a hardy soul or two camped out on the Krewe of Endymion route — there are people, tarps, tents, ice chests, chairs and CAUTION tape everywhere.
Let's start on Canal Street, around Scott Street:
We're already anticipating your questions:
Q. Is this legal???
Q. Is the NOPD going to do anything about this sort of thing?
Q. What the hell is the streetcar supposed to do? Levitate?
A. There's no streetcar service on Canal Street today and tomorrow. If you're planning to ride public transportation at all through Tuesday, you'd better download a copy of NORTA's Mardi Gras related changes. Here you go:
More pix under the cut, including Orleans Avenue ...
According to a representative of the New Orleans Convention & Visitor's Bureau, New Orleans is packed this weekend (and we're not even counting the people sleeping outside on the Endymion route). Here are the hotel occupancy numbers as of this morning:
On a somewhat related note, I got a Mardi Gras-themed promotional email from Hotels.com this morning. Do you see what I see?
Yep, it's a sale on rooms at well-known Mardi Gras hot spots like New York and Las Vegas. Maybe given the occupancy rates here at Carnival central, they didn't have any rooms to sell in New Orleans.
Remi Braden of the NOPD's public information office dropped us a note this afternoon:
The Superintendent [Ronal Serpas] and NOPD’s special events team just met with the heads of some parade crews that have yet to roll. It was to discuss possible bad weather and courses they should take should the forecast force them to change up their schedules. Anyway, some of the crews said they’d really appreciate it if we could tell the public - again- that it is illegal to throw things at float-riders. Some people have actually suffered minor injuries because people in the crowds have hurled things their way. If you all could remind people that this is against the law, they’d appreciate it.
Whipping stuff at riders is about the rudest thing you can do during Mardi Gras — and it's actually illegal. So: don't.
Under the cut: Some city and state ordinances the NOPD thinks you need to know for Carnival season — including firearms laws, ladder protocol, and everyone's favorite:
Section 34-32 of the Municipal Code: Roping off Areas:
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