Kenny Klein with Stapler

Kenny Klein with Stapler

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mardi Gras Critters: Barkus and Beyond!

Mardi Gras is fast approaching. It is the season of beads, masks, second lines, parades, liquor, lewdness, and...dogs?

Oh yes! In the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras there are daily parades; two, three and four a day as we get closer to the final hours of all-out sin before the repentence of lent. I faithfully reported to you the chaos of Krewe Du Vieux, and I will surely keep you informed about about Krewe of Oak, Muses, Eris, and many others. And expect an exhilirating report next Tuesday, Mardi Gras itself!

But last Saturday was a special day in Mardi Gras lore, a day for the faithful, reveling hounds of the city; Krewe of Barkus!

It's name a pun on Bacchus, the God of wine and insanity who reigns over Mardi Gras, Barkus is a parade for dogs and their fans. Held in the French Quarter, this year Barkus passed through Bourbon Street, down Toulouse, and around Royal. It attracted a huge crowd of dog lovers and dog owners, as it does each year.

The crowd occupied Royal Street and Toulouse an hour beforehand. I was busking just a block or two down Royal, and I took a break to wait with everyone else in the tense, anticipating crowd of human and beast.

Dogs and owners lined the roads, waiting for the parade to pass by.

In time critters came in a wave, moving both fast and slow. Barkus often just wanders by, rather than marching. That's how partying dogs roll, dog.

It was an afternoon of dog revelry and excitement. Barkus, a day that each year goes down in the annals of our lives shared with the noble hound.

But wait, there's more...

Seaking of critters...these odd little beings began popping up all over New Orleans a couple of weeks ago. Each is identical in form, but each is decorated by a different artist and signed by that artist. No one seems to know anything more about them. They have materialized all along Saint Charles, Napoleon, and other busy avenues. Aliens? An as yet unknown species? Swamp beings hurled into the city by Katrina? You decide...

This one is close to my house, at the river bend of Saint Charles and Carrollton. It seems to be a tribute to the LSU Tigers.

This well dressed creature guards the Loyola dorms on Saint Charles.

Behind this girl you can see the Jewish Community Center at Jefferson. Her name seems to be Bazooka Jeaux. That's how we spell stuff down here. Geaux Saints...

This timely critter stands outside the Latter Library.

Adorned with broken bottles, this one is in the park at Camp under the Mississippi River Bridge overpass.

This mean animal is at Napoleon and Magazine. Beware!

And there you have it. From amongst the critters of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, this is Kenny Klein explaining it all.

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