This year we’ve had more people than ever park at our house to catch the Carnival parades and I feel I am growing substantially in my capacity as Carnival Facilitator. Remember, I’m just a Midwestern tourist who never left New Orleans, but since 2005 when we “bought” a house a block and a half from the Uptown parade route, I’m out there for every parade.

I’m thinking a Carnival Facilitator uniform might be in order next year. Ideally, I’d have one of those pedicab deals to ferry folks back and forth. Maybe a jumpsuit and optional headgear with a cupholder and an MP3 player and speaker playing carnival music. Light saber to direct traffic. Mobile charging station for cell phones.

Ah, but as any experienced parade goer will tell you, it’s not all fun and games out there. There will be Carnival Traumas that will require Carnival Treatment, and that’s the job of the Carnival Facilitator. Last year, for instance, a horse emptied his enormous bladder on St. Charles Avenue–a full minute of splashing, an absolute flood plain of horse piss, and it steamed mightily to the storm drain on the curb, directly in front of our parade viewing party.

I didn’t see it. I was probably walking someone back to use a bathroom at the time. I’ve only heard individual accounts from five different people who witnessed the incident. A couple of these scarred parade goers find solace in G Bitch’s recent I Survived insight:

You will lose something. A foot. A best friend. Safety, temporarily. Childhood.

So it’s not all fun and games out there. Bad things happen to good people. Worse things happen to good people who are drunk. And still worse things …

A Carnival Facilitator needs to know how to survive is what I’m saying.

A Carnival Facilitator also needs to know how to maximize real estate. For example, I park our car on the street, save another spot on the curb with two well placed orange pylons, so then we can fit two more cars in our front yard and still two more in the driveway. Fat Tuesday we might be able to jam one more car in somewhere.

Last night one little boy became the night’s punchline for always claiming he needed to pee. The whole peeing on his own thing is new. He’s a little guy, his fluid intake had ceased hours earlier, yet he continually felt he had a few more drops to squeeze out of his eyedropper. That’s where I got the idea for a pedicab.

I simply want to play my small role at identifying best practices in Carnival facilitation. The funny thing is I’m not joking.


Derek Bridges lives in New Orleans, trading in words and pictures. A carpetbagger of long standing, he grew up in the top right corner of IL and later went to college in the middle cornfield part. He has also lived in MS and FL, for educational purposes only, and was diasporized for a time in TX.

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