Krewe of FEMA
Given the events of past year, Karley, Ian, Rob, Petri, and I decided that New Orleans could use one additional Mardi Gras Krewe this season. Ian wrote up the report below. But for those of you not familiar with New Orleans, a couple words of introduction might be helpful. First, Mardi Gras ends at Midnight on Tuesday. Second, those of you who live in the world of Corporate Casual might not notice but we are, in fact, wearing costumes.
Myssedit Krewe of FEMA
Midnight on Mardi Gras Day is supposed to signal the end of Carnival. But FEMA had other plans in this first pre-Katrina year. Undeterred by tradition, office hours or even reason, the Myssedit Krewe of FEMA took to the streets of the French Quarter on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006.
A day-late and a dollar-short production from start to finish, the understaffed krewe had only five members in its inaugural run. Bleary-eyed and massively hung-over from the previous day’s festivities, the krewe nonetheless hoisted its glittery banner, took up its instruments and rolled just a few minutes off schedule at 11 a.m.
A DJ at WWOZ caught wind of the organization and announced its secret St. Roch form-up point on the air. Though the initial public response was not overwhelming, the broadcast did result in the krewe picking up a second line of sorts – one woman who arrived in a minivan crammed with debris followed the parade with her video camera for much of its meandering route.
French Quarter residents, visitors and merchants seemed surprised to see FEMA’s Mardi Gras celebration on Wednesday morning, and even a little confused. But krewe members assured them of the parade’s intent. “FEMA saves Mardi Gras! Happy Fat Wednesday!,” members declared. “FEMA to the rescue! FEMA delivers a parade, just when New Orleans needs it most!”
Responses from the street varied from delight to death threats, but in all cases the krewe had beads at the ready. The beads were not immediately available, of course, but in their place krewe members distributed Bead Request Forms that explained the procedure for receiving beads. Though they could not provide a definitive timeline for the disbursement of beads, krewe members assured their fans that they could check on the status of their bead request online using the computers in their flooded homes.
The parade was so successful that the krewe has already begun planning its New Year’s celebration, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 2, 2007.