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Dogs on Parade, Beads of Power

Have you ever heard of a dog parade? New Orleans is one of the many destinations that celebrates Mardi Gras with a different kind of twist. The Krewe of Barkus weaves through the French Quarter, offering hilarious costumed canines on parade.

My last full day in New Orleans consisted of lots of food and fun. A few of us took a stroll through the Quarter and ended up at Arnaud’s, a restaurant I had yet to experience. It was a Sunday Jazz Brunch and I was delighted by the setup and the personal song by the Jazz trio. The food was superb, but when the trio began to play, “You Are My Sunshine” and the restaurant started to sing, I just wanted to cry. I was beginning to miss my babies, and this is the song I used to sing to them every night when I put them to bed. I realized I had reached my ME TIME limit and I longed to hear from my children.

Then I had a Mimosa, the trio played a Mardi Gras favorite, and ladies in their Sunday best started dancing around Arnaud’s waving their dinner napkins. This is what is known as a Second Line. My foot started tapping and I was ready to enjoy my time again, the melancholy passing for the moment.

After brunch and a tour of the upstairs Mardi Gras Costume Museum, I walked slowly down the stairs admiring the signed pictures of prior celebrity diners. Mark Laiosa, from WBAI New York, accompanied me on a walk afterwards to the French Market, where we spoke with Zahdan Sterling, a local artist of tie-die shirts and African trade bead bracelets. 100_06242.jpgI purchased a bracelet for $6 and immediately put it on. I think Mr. Sterling must’ve put some really good JuJu in his creations, because I have been experiencing some awesome luck since putting it on. Yesterday I took it off for a bit, and it was as if the moon was in my seventh house of poop. It was a cruddy day, but as soon as I put it back on, good things happened again. Freaky, but I digress.

We left the market and caught up with the Krewe of Barkus, the doggie parade that had more the 1500 dogs dressed for Mardi Gras. Instead of throwing beads, the owners threw dog biscuits to the pets in the crowd. 100_0640.jpgTheir theme was in honor of the new release of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Barkus celebrated with “Indiana Bones and the Lost Bark”. Very punny.

Near the Barkus parade route, I spied the NO Fire Department. Since I have ties with the fire service, I decided to walk over and say hi. I noticed that they were selling calendars of steamy firefighter pics. Of course, I had to purchase one, all in the name of charity.

The group met up later for dinner at Besh Steakhouse inside of Harrah’s Casino. I ordered the Shrimp and Grits, in homage to my literary hero, Forest Gump. I also sampled the risotto, which was so good it made me want to cry. With a full tummy, I went back to my room to pack up my clothes and gaze at my calendar of hotties. As I flipped through, I noticed one of the guys was climbing a ladder with his hose thrown over his shoulder. He was all greasy and sweaty and then I looked closer. I thought he looked familiar. He was a former coworker!

I love being a Traveling Mama. Traveling without the family can sometimes be fun and needed, but I find that after a few days I really start to miss those little people hugs. As much fun as I was having, I still couldn’t wait to get home.

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