The Faux and The Reel

For the past couple of days, I’ve been visually bombarded with a huge faux Mardi Gras parade outside my Frenchmen Street perch. A film crew, hundreds of costumed extras, a couple of confetti cannons, several fake Mardi Gras floats, a Toyota Camry outfitted with a camera, and at least as many film crew people closed down Frenchmen Street and Decatur Street to create the illusion of Mardi Gras. As I write this, today’s shoot has been closed down (I think even Mr, Okra got into the picture) and there are clean-up crews with sweep brooms and leaf blowers cleaning up the confetti and beads from the street. All that’s missing is the smell of garbage, urine and vomit and a the passed-out drunks that you see on Bourbon post-Mardi Gras. Frenchmen Street’s (fake) Mardi Gras is a helluva lot more sanitary. More to come, tomorrow, I suspect.

All the beads, confetti. None of the bodily fluids.

I mentioned to Steve Maloney, OffBeat’s web editor, that maybe we should have put something up showing what a Mardi Gras parade looks like outside the OffBeat offices, and he strongly disagreed. “Who wants to see a lame, fake Mardi Gras parade?” he scoffed.

Well, I guess he’s right. It’s going tp be a very, very sanitized “reel.”

It was interesting watching the film crew, director and extras put together the shots (over and over and over and over and over again), but fake it was. To a seasoned New Orleanian, this was a laughable Mardi Gras. Whatever. We s hould be thankful to Toyota for choosing to make New Orleans the backdrop of their commercial for Camrys. But consumer, beware! It’s not the real thing—we don’t have those kinds of parades on Frenchmen!

Now speaking of the “real”…The Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame celebrates its 16th anniversary this year. Geraldine Wyckoff, OffBeat writer for many years, is receiving their “Scribe” Awards. Yours truly was the recipient of the Scribe Award a few years ago, and that award is one of my prize possessions: it’s an Indian patch, with a feather pan and inkwell, with the words “Mojo Mouth” embroidered on it. Now that’s an award I will always cherish.

Congratulations to Geraldine and all the recipients of this year’s awards.