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What’s It Like Being in a New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade – Part Three

— This is a continuation from <<<— Part Two —

We have guys in our group of are all ages, shapes and sizes. Some of the big guys, I just don’t know how they do it, dancing for five miles for three and a half hours. Perhaps they have that light-on-the-feet Jackie Gleason gene. I’m amazed at their stamina.

What’s It Like Being in a Mardi Gras Parade – Part Three

New Orleans Mardi Gras. Night parade on Canal ...

New Orleans Mardi Gras. Night parade on Canal Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And tonight there were no breakdowns of any floats in the parade ahead of us so we moved along at a steady clip.

Sometimes even our dancing slowed the parade so we would occasionally find ourselves sprinting ahead to catch up with the float in front of us. Pity the poor people who missed the chance to see us dancing by.

We move passed Gallier Hall and to the intersection of Poydras where the street is wide and parade gawkers are confined behind barricades. Here we have a lot of space to stretch out and as we move on down toward Canal Street.

But first we must put on a really great show for the Pickwick Club there at the corner of St. Charles and Canal where members and family crowd the balcony overlooking the street.

The spectators on the ground now all behind barricades seem so far away, no one can reach out to touch us but the cheering goes on and we feel like we a part of the privileged few, the one per-centers, who get to be in a parade.

Ah yes, the adoring fans cheer and wave as we make it onto Canal Street marking the near end of our three and a half hour, ordeal…er… dance. Because the parade is moving so fast we find ourselves sprinting again to catch up with the float in front of us.

We manage to squeeze out one more display of excellent dancing ability, to get the last little bit of the adoration that’s been showered on us over the last five miles. My toes are aching and finally we come to the end of the line and we peel off into the hotel to rest, change into street clothes and see what damage we may have been done to our dogs.

Because the parade was moving at a steady clip the whole night I didn’t have the time nor the inclination to go back to the trailer to get a beer which may account for the fact that when the parade was over I really didn’t feel tired or worn out. So I found it funny when as we were going up the escalator the youngest fellow in our group whom I have about 30 years on said he was exhausted. Not only did I not feel exhausted I actually felt great. But my poor toes… ouch.

I got to the changing room that was now busy with dancers shedding themselves of their dancing paraphenalia, talking and laughing, trading stories about their experiences in the parade. I sat and took off my shoes afraid of what I might see but luckily all my toenails looked fine with just some redness of the skin next to the big nails.

I changed and went over the table and poured me a Coke. I never drink Coke or any soft drinks for that matter but heck that icy Coke was so refreshing I went back several times and had a couple more glasses.

It was now about 10:30. My girlfriend picked me and my brother up. As we were pulling away down Canal Street I got a cramp in my right leg and we had to stop so I could get out of the car and shake it off. And as we moved through the traffic my feet began to ache… a lot… throbbing really.

The next morning when I got up my feet felt fine but my back was aching, let me tell you. By the next day my back was fine and all that was left of my dancing the night away on the streets of New Orleans were great memories.

The dancing group coordinators usually give out awards for best dancers which I have been nominated for each year over the last four years I’ve been dancing. I’ve won twice. I don’t know if I’ll get any awards this year but I felt like this was my best dance because I had good energy the whole way and to me that’s really all that matters. I think this year was my best year dancing in a Mardi Gras parade. Can’t wait to do it again.

Read <<<—Part Two

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