I saw the 9th Ward Marching Band in two parades during the Mardi Gras season. What can you tell me about this wonderful New Orleans group?
Fashioned after high school marching bands, the 9th Ward Marching Band was founded around 1998 by a group of friends who played music in the 9th Ward, including organist/inventor Mr. Quintron (real name Robert Rolston), leader of the one-man band Quintron; musician/puppeteer Miss Pussycat (Panacea Theriac), Quintron's partner; Elizabeth Macey and Judy Bolton, who are responsible for most of the band's outfits; and Jon Henry Kelly, Lefty Parker, Strangebone, Julien Fried, MC Trachiotomy, Matt Vis and Jamie Kallel.
The band's colors are red, white and silver. Heather Sher is the original uniform designer and inventor of the now-famous one-eyed cat with a "9" band logo.
In the early years, the group was ragged and undisciplined, but today it has more than 150 members and sections including drums, brass, glockenspiels, cymbals, rifle girls, cheerleaders, batons, flags, cowgirls, spirit sticks, a dance squad and a "team gong" that is used during the performance.