Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hey hey, the gangs all here...

How do you know when Carnival is really about to take off? When the group of people renting your neighbor's house for the week come in from the bars at 6:30 am, start to work on another case of beer, turn up the volume to max on some kind of hideous nu-metal band, and don't pass out by 10:30. Instead they headed out again sometime around noon, undoubtedly in search of more beer and another eight-ball of coke. I suspect we'll hear more from them over the next 5 days.
For the first time in years I've very little to do with Carnival celebrations. We went to a couple of fancy dress parties in January, which I felt very lucky to attend, but that by itself isn't anywhere near my usual involvement. Most of all, I'm gonna hate not rolling with the Muses this evening. It would be really nice to go down and cheer the girls on.

My mom's offered to babysit, in fact would love to babysit, but ya know, I'm not ready to cross that river quite yet. I can't imagine being away from Baby Girl for 2 minutes, much less an hour or more. Actually, I'm not sure there's any real reason why we should be separated for some time to come. I'll wait for her. Still, it's too bad she isn't several months older, I'd def take her out in a pink wig and a pair of fairy wings. Next year for sure.

There are a number of common misconceptions about Mardi Gras, specifically it's history, but I'll skip over that today and address something I'm not sure everyone fully appreciates. It's that the people of New Orleans are the ones who make Mardi Gras happen year after year. It's the central social event of a very socially oriented city. Literally thousands of individuals involved in only God knows how many groups/organizations/krewes/social aid societies contribute their time, effort, and money to make it happen.

That's the lovely thing about it. The effort is very grassroots. If you want to participate in the making there's a group/a club/a krewe for everyone. If you're not happy with any of the existing groups, you're perfectly welcome to form your own. Come together with an existing krewe's parade...or have one of your own if you want. People do it all the time.

And as I hinted above, the parades aren't the whole story. There are lots of related parties/masquerade balls/dinner dances/debutant presentations, and the like throughout the season and beyond. But even that's just the tip of the iceberg. The core experience lies in all the time spent hanging out with your pals throughout the year while working to make these elaborate events, parades, and costumes all come together. It's very much a social thing.

Certainly more "social" than flying into town once a year to get blind-drunk and show your tits on Bourbon St., which is exactly how many think of Mardi Gras. Behavior of that sort only qualifies you for that most distinctive of all local souvenirs, an empty wallet. Don't worry, we'll let you keep the beads and plastic go-cups from Pat O'Brien's as well.

And that's all fine [as long as you don't stop to piss on my front stoop, in which case you're likely to get hit with a broom]. Ya see, one thing we really excel at in New Orleans is walking the line between minimal order and utter chaos. Believe me, there's a highly skewed balance to be maintained. Since we never have near enough home-grown chaos available come Mardi Gras, we are forced to import it. Fortunately, most of this imported chaos carries cash and thus offers a virtually endless supply of the aforementioned "empty wallets".

In short, individual Mardi Gras experiences may vary, but just know that the people of New Orleans would be celebrating during the pre-lenten season even if nobody else came. Carnival is of such local importance that I tend to measure my years by it much more than say, New Years Eve.
This could well be the last Oliver Morgan 45 I'll post. I don't own the other two singles and they are very hard to find. In fact one of them is so rare that I only know one person who's ever even heard it. For my part, I've never heard either of the missing two.

This 45 is of course easier to find, but it too is getting scarce on the market as more copies have settled into collections. I was lucky in that a friend passed it on to me for a very nice price when he came up with a better copy for himself.

It's one of four records Morgan made with Eddie Bo. It was released in 1966.

Hope ya'll enjoy....


  1. Lost my comment twice trying to post it, so last go here, slightly abbreviated. Roll Call...Great tune. Knowing your partial to the man thought I should draw your attention to this incase you don't have it

  2. Thanks for the link J...I actually meant to draw attention to that post and the post of the a-side. I do have the record, but I can't recall ever seeing it posted online before. Here's the link to the a-side.

    Btw's a Lee Dorsey 45, not an Oliver Morgan record. Just to be clear.