With the gorgeous weather this late January, we are poised for a great holiday season. For most locals, we began to celebrate a few weeks ago, and at this point, most have their plans ready for parade routes and what king cakes to eat this year.
My two favorite parades are this weekend: ‘tit Rex and Barkus. ‘tit Rex rolls Saturday on a new route through the Marigny, and Barkus has its usual meandering Quarter trot. Both are unusual parades as ‘titRex is a shoebox parade and Barkus is the pooch parade. I love the informality of the walking parades much more than the pageantry of the riding parades, but I may also catch Muses this year on its Uptown route. I appreciate both types of carnivaling.
The wrinkle in this Carnival season is, of course, that the Super Bowl is being played here and smack dab in the middle of the revelry. The February 2 weekend should be a wild time throughout the downtown sliver by the river, especially since the city has rented much of the public space to the NFL and the media partners.
Whole city blocks will be cut off from regular passersby for the fee-paying corporations who have taken over half of the Quarter. For example, walking down Orleans at Burgundy last night, this is what I encountered:
Literally, a blinding walk more than 4 blocks away from the offending area that it was purportedly to light – Jackson Square! It certainly means that the residents who live on that side of the street have a miserable few weeks to live through. And with lights that overwhelming, certainly means noise at that level to follow which means all residents within a mile will live with it.
Listen, we get it: we are a tourist destination and Super Bowls are a money maker for restaurants and cab drivers and many others. We welcome them, but all of this has to happen within reason, and its our city’s responsibility to ensure the comfort of its resident first and foremost.
The level of interruption that I am seeing in the Quarter for this NFL event even dwarfs Carnival which is hard to do.
Keep in mind too that a few years ago, a beautiful walking parade of downtown artists was pushed out of the Quarter entirely and when they moved to the nearby Marigny, had police pushing and shoving them and the bystanders off the route. They have since suspended their parade because of the harassment.
How come we can’t find a way to hold both of these types of events in our city center without selling ourselves off the highest bidder or shoving the informal culture off our city streets?
This mayor seems a bit lost about how to weigh what to offer corporations versus local creative entrepreneurs. Maybe he needs a blinding light shining on his house-maybe it will help him to see.