Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mistaken Expectations

Continuing our observations on the Scott (LA) Mardi Gras Parade.

For this Acadian Parish town of 10,000 less than five miles west of Lafayette, we expected a much lower turnout for the parade than the actual figures. When I asked one of the police officers for his estimate of the crowd size, his answer was, "I don't know, but it's pretty amazing, isn't it. People come from miles away for Mardi Gras celebrations in these small towns."

For a town of this size, we expected a parade far shorter than the one we witnessed. I don't know how long the parade route through Scott was, but it took the first vehicles nearly an hour to reach our position, which was about half an hour from the end of the route.

For a town of this size, we were expecting the floats to be basic, tractor-pulled wagons. As you can see from the photos, several of the floats consisted of two levels mounted on flatbed trailers.

At our position at the corner of St. Mary Street and Delhomme Avenue, these floats required some careful navigation under the overhead wires and around the corner because of their height and length, respectively.

Even though we were very close to the floats as they slowly rounded the corner, we did not take many photographs at these times. Wth the choice of either missing the shot to catch (or sometimes to defend yourself from) flying beads or having the camera or your head hit by beads, we opted to take photos of floats as they approached and then reaching for the beads as they turned the corner.

One of the most common features of the floats were the large speakers that were strapped onto the float frames (photos above and right).

One other structure featured on almost all the floats were the Porta-Johns. Some of the floats have this item prominently displayed (left),

while other floats have the Porta-John decorated and incor-porated into the colors and/or theme of the group (left).

We had expected the floats in this Mardi Gras Parade to represent the work of specific krewes. But we found that many of the floats were produced by local businesses. One such float was that of Buelah's Beauty Shop, which, we assume, had some of the employees on the float.

Some of the floats were constructed from basic materials, such as The Shed float, which was constructed primarily of corrugated sheet metal with hand-painted signage.

Other floats, like the two shown here, had professional signage prepared for display.

As the parade was ending, people would climb over the barriers to pick up beads that had not made it into the crowd. Here a patrolman had to remind these "bead prospectors" to return to the sidewalks until the parade had passed them by.

We waited until the parking lot had cleared before making our way to one of the back roads (Highway 90) to Duson. Along the way, we saw cars parked on the side of the highway at a distance of a mile-and-a-quarter from where we were parked.

We did not expect that many people to attend the Mardi Gras Parade in Scott.

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