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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hermes, D'Etat and Morpheus paraded Feb. 9

Posted By on Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 5:46 PM

click to enlarge Le Krewe  d'Etat depicted LaToya Cantrell as Venus.
  • Le Krewe d'Etat depicted LaToya Cantrell as Venus.

The Krewe of Hermes and Le Krewe d'Etat chose art themes for their parades and Morpheus did an animal theme in parades Friday night on the Uptown route.

The krewes of Muses and d"Etat have entertained a rivalry over the years, battling to outwit each other in satirical parades (and some less worthy stunts that amount to vandalism). D'Etat launched one its more amusing parades in recent years, but in a fun irony, the krewe chose the same theme as Muses. Muses' did "A Night at the Museum," which featured plays on famous of works of art by Jackson Pollock, Andrew Wyeth, Banksy and others. Last night, d'Etat's presented "The Dictator's Museum of Art" or "DicMA." It also featured references to Pollock, as well as Andy Warhol and Michelangelo (turning his "Creation of Adam" into the "Mitchelangelo" in reference to Mayor Landrieu).

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No one needed to worry about having a deep knowledge of art history to enjoy D'Etat's concepts. They were very accessible. Rodin's sculpture "The Thinker" was turned into "The Stinker," which depicted President Donald Trump sitting on a toilet, and there were scatological references around the float, especially to "leakers."

A float about sexual assault and the #MeToo movement featured Harvey Weinstein as a Roman emperor, referencing Thomas Couture's painting "Romans During the Decadence." On the side of the float, Weinstein says "I have a really big part for you." Apparently very concerned about sexual misconduct, the krewe did a second float on the theme, the second featuring Matt Lauer. The best parting shot on the subject was a painting on the back of one float featuring Woody Allen with Soon Yi Previn, with Allen saying "Let's not turn this into a witch hunt."
click to enlarge Le Krewe d'Etat used "American Gothic" to parody various protestors.
  • Le Krewe d'Etat used "American Gothic" to parody various protestors.
Muses and D'Etat both did floats based on Grant Wood's American Gothic, and D'Etat's animation of it as a political cartoon about the Antifa movement had sculptural figures on it that were more dramatic than Muses' painting, even if some of the d'Etat jokes were stale gripes. Both krewes also turned Washington crossing the Delaware into Mitch Landrieu crossing a Mid-City space to address the problems of the Sewerage and Water Board. D'Etat devoted both of its dancing teams the issue, with the Dancing Do Nothings running up the street in orange hard hats and yellow-green vests. The Nawlins Nymphets wore water meter cover headdresses and Hawaiian shirts.

There were fresher jokes on the float parodying Warhol's Campbell's soup cans. The "Canned" float featured people fired from the Trump administration. The foul-mouthed Anthony Scaramocci was pictured on a can of "Greasy Italian" soup (although that didn't have to be slur). Steve Bannon was on a can simply labelled "Chunky White." On the side of the float, former Trump wife Ivana quipped that she lasted longer.

Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" float was an amusing collection of Landrieu and statues of Confederate Generals.

Having a final float making fun of art featuring dogs playing poker was a good final joke about art appreciation. A critics float may have been a bit of a pander, flattering Arthur Hardy, Errol Laborde and Peggy Scott Laborde, but it featured a bust of Carnival float designer Henri Schindler, who has created notable parades for Hermes, Rex, Endymion and formerly d'Etat. (Muses' chosing LaToya Cantrell as its Honorary Muse makes sense in honoring the city's first woman mayor, but then again, honoring the city's top official can also look like a gratuitous piece of flattery from a parade that typically satirizes public officials.)

It was a very fun parade, but by a brush stroke, Muses did the theme better. In its best floats, Muses found rich meaning in the artworks themselves, such as "Hillary's World," comparing Clinton's political struggles with the figure in Wyeth's painting "Christina's World." By contrast, d'etat had a good joke in presenting LaToya Cantrell as the figure in Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." Substituting a Sewerage & Water Board cover for the shell is funny, and the notion of using credit cards to cover her body is a good joke about immodesty, but as an art joke, it isn't as richly insightful.
click to enlarge Pages ride the king's float in the Krewe of Hermes parade.
  • Pages ride the king's float in the Krewe of Hermes parade.
Many krewes have celebrated arts and letters in their parades, but Hermes did an outstanding job on the theme. The figures on many floats were beautiful, even a pot representing the work of George Ohr. The writers selected for the theme included obvious choices such as William Faulkner (with a giant mosquito on the float for his early novel), Tennessee Williams (noting The Glass Mengerie), Kate Chopin, John Kennedy Toole (with a robust Ignatius Reilly figure) and Walker Percy (The Moviegoer), but also writers not as widely known, such as Lyle Saxon, novelist Robert Tallant and essayist and observer Lafcadio Hearn.

It saluted watercolor painter Walter Anderson, lithographer Caroline Durieux, folk artist Clementine Hunter with float paintings matching her style, float designer and surreal artist Bror Anders Wikstrom (whose work is currently on exhibit at NOMA), and Enrique Alfarez, whose sculptures fill City Park. There were two floats celebrating Newcomb pottery.
click to enlarge hermes2.jpg
The figures on floats were bright and evocative. There were bobbing paper flowers and decorative elements on many floats. Riders' outfits had light "H"s on their crests, and the whole parade looked well executed.

The procession also included bands from Talladega College, West Alabama University, Concordia College, St. Augustine's Marching 100, Warren Easton Charter High School.

Morpheus presented a wild animal theme. The floats featured a panda, tropical birds, dragons, fish, a cat and mouse tandem float, frogs snakes and lizards. The theme is fine and the floats were pretty. The only problem for the krewe is that it's late in a group of krewes that chose similar themes, and the one that goes first gets an advantage in doing it first. One complaint is that some of the floats blast rock music so loud that it heavily bleeds over the high school marching bands that go right before them in the procession. The students in the bands put a lot into marching, and should't be subjected to that.
click to enlarge The Krewe of Morpheus parade had an animal theme.
  • The Krewe of Morpheus parade had an animal theme.
A full lineup of bands included St. Mary's Academy, Archbishop Shaw High School, Helen Cox High School, Carmouche, John Ehret High School, Towers High School from Decatur, Georgia, Young Audiences, KIPP Renaissance High School, L.W. Higgins High School, Melrose High School from Memphis, Tennessee, Joseph S. Clark High School and others.

The procession also included marching units such as the Oui Dats and Roux La La.


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