Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Scott Strategy

As we made plans to attend our second Mardi Gras parade in Scott, LA, the thinking went something like this:

1) We arrived about three hours early for our first parade in Lafayette, and the parade route was empty as we walked to the starting point.

2) Granted this was a parade for dogs, and it was one of several to be held in the city in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. But still, Lafayette is a city of about 115,000, and we would have expected more people to be lining up early.

3) Given the challenge of finding a parking spot near the parade route, even that variable did not seem to present a problem for (what we thought) was a late-arriving crowd.

4) So, since it was only a five-mile drive from our RV, we thought we could leave 75 minutes before the parade in Scott (population 10,000) was scheduled to begin.

Well, . . . we evidently did not take into account some other important data, because when we took the exit off I-10 into Scott, we were met with police and a barricaded main street into town. Our choices were to head north out of town and park along a shoulder-less highway and walk back to town or cross over the road into town, head back onto the interstate, and drive two miles to the next exit.

Back on I-10, we noticed that cars were parked along the frontage road, which was part of the parade route. These early arrivers were not parked parallel to the frontage road; no, they were parked perpendicularly to the road.

We marveled at this array of cars parked in this fashion for nearly half a mile--too stunned at the number of people already along the route and too worried about finding our way back into town to even take a photo of the scenes before us.

Taking the next exit and back-tracking into town, we came upon a bank parking lot. There were four parking spots in front; we took one and before you could say "two, three, four," the other (and last) spots were taken.

Next, figure out where we were in relation to the parade route.

Solution: follow the crowd.

Surprisingly, we were only about six blocks from the route. We took two spots on a corner and waited. The previous three photos show the view to the north, south, and west, respectively.

During both the waiting period and the parade, we each took a different approach to taking photos. One approach focused on the people, the other on the floats and the people on them.

We saw people on the floats drawing upon their "stock" of beads (above and left) to toss to people.

And parade attendees readied themselves with either a strategic position or, as in the case of the person on the right, with the means to aid in the catching of the beads.

The riders in the next two photos seem to be tossing beads in a manner that would be easy to catch if you happen to be at the end of the "flight" of the beads.

However, with the windup and the determined look of the person on the right in the photo (left), either someone twenty feet away will the recipient of a handful of beads OR someone in the front row will need medical assistance.

Even though we were near the end of the parade route, those on the floats still had a good supply of beads.

We prepared for a busy afternoon.

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