Mormon Mardi Gras

Just in time for Pioneer Day on the 24th, I thought I’d share some photos from the Pioneer Day Parade float preview that I went to last Monday. Obviously I knew that there is a parade on the 24th, but I can’t remember ever watching it on TV, and I know that I haven’t gotten up early to stake out a spot for it. In fact, before living in New Orleans, parades didn’t really capture my interest. But then I went to my first Mardi Gras parade and fell in love. Suddenly, it didn’t seem crazy at all for people to camp out for a good spot on the parade route or circle a neighborhood for parking for half an hour. I don’t really like crowds or hassles so I often don’t put forth the effort to attend big events and just kind of assume it won’t be worth it. But Mardi Gras is totally worth it, and if you ever get the chance to go, you should go.

My mom and brother visited us in New Orleans once in October, and we felt bad that they wouldn’t get to experience Mardi Gras (I promise, this is part of the post), so we took them to Mardi Gras World where you can see all of the floats created for Mardi Gras. It was awesome, although obviously not as good as actually being to a parade in person.

Going to see the float preview for the Pioneer Day Parade felt a lot like going to Mardi Gras World. I had no idea what to expect from the floats. I knew that most of them were made by volunteers, so to be honest, I didn’t expect much. Imagine my surprise when they turned out to be amazing. Although, it was a little strange because almost every float was religious in nature. They all talked about faith, sacrifice, temples, missionary work, zion, etc. And the art work for many of them seemed to come straight from the illustrations of The Friend, a church-produced magazine for younger kids. It filled me with nostalgia.

But they were church-related floats with tons and tons of glitter and sparkle!

Like I mentioned, most of the floats were created by volunteers. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized into wards (congregations) and stakes (similar to a dioceses) made up of several wards. Most of the floats were created by different stakes. Here’s the one that my stake put together.

Huge desserts! Is there anything more whimsical than huge desserts? The preview event allowed you to vote for the best float. During church the day before, we were encouraged to go vote for the stake float. I wanted to vote for ours, of course, but I wouldn’t vote for it if it wasn’t any good. Luckily, I could vote for it with a clear conscience. Although I was torn because the stake I grew up in also had a float in the parade that was pretty great.

Of course, there were a few other churches that had some floats in the parade. I could tell the one with the big Jesus wasn’t a Mormon one right away. Not that we don’t believe in Jesus. We just don’t usually make big ones for a float.

And there were some secular floats, too. Like two of them.

And one church-made float that looked more secular.

The train actually went in and out of the tunnel.

Here’s the thing about floats, the sparklier the better. There was an impressive float with a zeppelin and a handcart and a pioneer quilt, but well…

it still just looks kind of dreary. It could use some glitter.

They also had lots of activities at the preview, such as foam swords to fight, sheep to pet, beanbags to toss, candy to eat, and a marching band to hear. I thought it was so cool that I told Izzy and Kylie they should take their kids the next day.

But I probably won’t be camping out tomorrow night for a good spot to see the Pioneer Day Parade because it is missing one very important element. Beads! What’s the point of a parade if you can’t shout at the top of your lungs, “Throw me something, mister!” over and over again? What’s the point if you don’t go home with bags of colorful beads and useless throws? What’s the point if you can’t hope for a decorated shoe or a coconut? Or even catch a cabbage? No, I’m afraid that New Orleans created my love for parades, but my desire to attend them died when I left that beautiful city. The float preview is good enough for me.


Mobile Monday 9

Confession: I usually do Mobile Monday when I need a break at work. Mostly because I love using Fireworks to resize my photos. Maybe it’s because my version of photoshop is SO OLD (still running CS), but the Fireworks shortcuts are just so much easier! Anyway, this will be the last time I get to do Mobile Monday from my little desk at work. Tear.

Apparently I love seeing things grouped together because I took photos of things hanging on racks in the store this week.

Penny turned 2 years old yesterday! Amanda threw her a dancy party for all her little friends. I’ll be posting more from it later, but here’s a picture of the decorations before and the decorations after.

I always end up taking lots and lots of pictures of Lucy. Why? Because a) she’s so adorable and b) she can’t move anywhere yet. Here are two of my favorites from the week.

I discovered the downside of kitchenaid mixers: only one beater. I guess when you’re the birthday girl, you get to eat the cookie dough from the beater. And I can’t believe I’m posting this, but the other picture is the sad, sad state of my room at the moment. I just haven’t been able to get this move organized, so everything is in complete disarray. Part of it is that I’m still in denial about moving. The excitement of a new job was so last week. Now it seems like life is back to normal again, even though I know a big change is about to happen. My time is drawing to an end, though, so I really have to get everything packed away.

Mobile Monday 7

Well, I left the snow in Utah to come back to rain. Last Wednesday, I very much regretted leaving my umbrella in the car. It was needed on the short run from our porch to my car across the street. The good news? It’s Mardi Gras season and the king cakes have started showing up at work!

It was my brother-in-law’s birthday on Friday. We had some friends over for gumbo and Amanda’s perfect homemade biscuits (she makes the gumbo, too, and it’s so delicious). Peter insisted that his dad wanted a Lightning McQueen cake. Amanda also took the kids to the store to pick out a game to play with their dad. Their choice? Hungry Hungry Hippo. It got a ton of use during the cold, windy, rainy afternoon yesterday.

We did have a beautiful day on Saturday, though. It was so nice that we all met up at Jackson Square in the quarter for a picnic and basked in the sun. I never got around to taking a mobile photo during our picnic (though I took lots with the canon), but here’s a snapshot of an old theater near the quarter that is just begging to be restored. How great is that sign? Also, when I was pulling out of my very tight parallel parking space, I accidentally backed my side mirror into a pole and it shattered. Oopsies. I think I can get a replacement on Amazon.

This little girly turned 6 months old on Saturday.

And, as usual, we spent lots of time just playing.

Fat Tuesday

We’ve been partying all week in New Orleans. It started with the Saints Victory Parade last Tuesday, followed by a whole slew of parades on Friday. We took the weekend off and then attended more parades last night and this morning. I just love Mardi Gras, but I have to admit that I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic this year. It probably had something to do with the cold weather. Parades aren’t half so fun when you’re fingers, toes and ears are freezing. But we braved the weather and have a huge bag of beads to add to the ones in my closet.

Here are a few of the sights from this year’s Mardi Gras:

|You might recognize the King of Orpheus 2010 – Steve Zahn!|

Because I Can’t Wait 3 Months

and also because family were in town and if you can’t come visit over Mardi Gras, you might as well visit Mardi Gras World and see where all the floats are made and stored.

mardi gras float warehouse

queen of hearts

mr. police officer

gathering of mardi gras accoutrements

I think I remember this one from last year:

dragon float

This one is in process. Can you guess what the final result will be?

WWII kiss

But the big draw for me was the promise of being able to dress up. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it will do.

king and queen of mardi gras

he's a handsome man