Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Endymion, My Children, and Mid-City New Orleans

It seems the biggest news lately in my neighborhood has been whether or not Endymion will be able to parade in Mid-City, or if they'll be forced to parade uptown for the second year in a row. Endymion is one of the biggest and best Mardi Gras krewes, and their return would help a great deal in Mid-City's recovery. Ask any business owner in the area, and they'll tell you that Endymion equals money. Plus it's great to meet and greet my Mid-City neighbors. At first the police said that Endymion would be able to parade in Mid-City, and they would be joined by the krewes of Iris and Tucks. Then Joy Oswald, a krewe captain from Iris, said
"We will do anything not to go out there. All my members are calling me very upset. They bring all their children up, and they don't want them in that area. Their families will not go into that area. The area is dilapidated. It hasn't come back at all."

Then the mayor said Iris would be uptown, and then the Police Superintendent Warren Riley said that Endymion would not be allowed to parade in Mid-City. He said it was a matter of safety, and that he was worried that some children might get "pulled into some abandoned building." These attitudes expressed by Joy Oswald and Warren Riley bother me quite a bit, especially as I have two kids living in Mid-City. I might not be wealthy, like Joy Oswald, nor ride in an alcohol-free parade notorious for lousy throws for all of its 90 years, nor even have had the good fortune to live in a neighborhood that didn't flood, but to have Endymion back in Mid-City is important. The city council has the final say, and they have this on their agenda for December 14th.

I realize that all of this seems trivial to people who are not here. But to have Endymion return to Mid-City would be a major step in our slow and painful return to any sense of normalcy. Seeing Endymion roll down the streets of my neighborhood was one of my favorite parts about living in Mid-City. I hope that they'll be able to return, and as soon as possible. And if Endymion is forced to roll again in uptown, then I'll be sure to make a special sign for Joy Oswald and her families that won't go into "that area," my Mid-City home.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it was a novelty to have your parade run through Uptown one time while the street car tracks were being installed in Mid-City, it was more of an inconvenience this past year. We are of the opinion that Endymion is much better suited for Mid-City, or even Veterans Boulevard for that matter. We really enjoyed having that Saturday evening "off" from parades. I do hope that if Endymion does have the good fortune of riding down St. Charles Avenue, that it at least gets its act together and tries to finish within the prescribed time that every other parade seems to be able to abide by.

6:54 AM  
Blogger jeffrey said...

Now you're on to something! Mid-City residents should attend the Iris parade in force this year... signs in hand.

Anon's comments are kind of silly. While I'll probalby agree with his/her distaste for Endymion... and the mostly white, rude, suburban crowd it attracts, I cannot abide the Uptown snobbishness.

Most Carnival parades grew up as neighborhood institutions. The challenge is to return the authenticity of these events by placing them back on something close to their traditional routes. Putting Endymion back in MId-City would be a good start. NOPD is the greatest threat to our city's cultural heritage right now. We shouldn't let them dictate in this fashion.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes,some Uptowners are snobby. However, this condition most frequently manifests itself in them when they have to hear or read about Mid-City residents whining about absolutely everything!!!! Seriously guys, as ole Andy said in the Shawshank Redemption "Get busy living, or get busy dying!"

12:48 PM  
Blogger Michael Homan said...

I am busy living. So are my neighbors who are back. That's a small fraction though. Most of the houses in my neighborhood are empty, and many haven't been touched since Katrina. And I'm sure in Uptown and elsewhere it sounds like the flooded neighborhoods are whining. Sorry to inconvenience you. I'm thankful that most of my uptown neighbors are a bit more tolerant and empathetic. I'll bet if you lived in Des Moines Iowa you'd hear a lot less about Katrina and the frustrations surrounding the recovery process. But please stay in Uptown, however keep in mind you'll be inundated with Katrina stories for the next ten years from me and my whiney neighbors. In fact I'm pretty sure I'm going to whine about this until the day I die.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Loki said...

As an uptowner, born and raised, I take issue with Anon's comments about whining mid city residents. Look you bloody lackwit, have you even gone ut int the neighborhood inn question? Do you ave any friends or direct connection to it? I doubt it or your glib and juvenille response would not have been made.

Now in all fairness I must concur that have found the crowd that comes uptown with Endymion to be rude and obnoxious. I also find the they generate about 5 times the litter. That s NOT the issue. The issue is that Mardi Gras traditions and celebrations are unique and very much keyed to the neighborhood you attend them in. Checking out the Indians doubt you've done that) up in the Claiborne area is vastly different from the Bacchanal of Frenchman St. or the family oriented Carnival of the St Charles route. This des ot invalidate any of them, wuite the opposite. These different celebrations create the gestalt that is Carnival.

By not letting these krewes parade in the home neighborhoods we weaken the social fabric even more and deny areas the uplifting experience of having their Carnival back.

Michael, I know you are smart enough to realize not all uptowners are this ingnorant and thoughtless, but I just had to chime in and provide a contrast.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loki,

I'm afraid you're a little confused. Uptown is not a geographical designation. It's a state of mind. YOu may regard yourself as an Uptowner because of where you reside, but that does not make you one. I know many Uptowners. Many Uptowners are my friends. Believe me, Loki, you are no Uptowner!!!

The fact is that while Endymion started as a Mid-City Neighborhood parade, it has morphed into everything not consistent with traditional Carnival. With it's Kenner based Captain, Ed Muniz, and it's thousands of fiber-optically lit riders from the suburbs (yes, I'm sure there are a handful that live in Mid-City, but I wouldn't count on more than 50) it has become nothing more than Veterans Boulevard Trailer-Trash.

Give me a break. This parade does not add to Carnival and the fact that the organization is too incompetent to even be able to pull it off without large, mile long gaps between floats and bands in proof positive.

While I completely agree with you with respect to the Indians (if you aren't afraid of getting caught up in there internal fights) or the Skeletons or any other traditional Carnival organization (hell, I'll even give you Zulu) Endymion is really the pits. Trust me, as someone who heavily participates in the opening of the Carnival season on Twelfth Night until its close when Rex and Comus toast and the curtain comes down to close out another Carnival season, I know traditional Carnival and Endymion for better or worse has outgrown its usefulness.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as someone who moved here at six years of age in 1967 and never left i guess i dont get it.

i allways dug the parades rolling thru midcity.

i dont get the digs on parades based on their get up.

if it were up to me all parades would be small neighborhood affairs like the first one i rode in the krewe of clones.

but it's not up to me.

the first parades i ever saw were on vets and st charles.

the truck parades were fun for a kid.

i love new orleans and i am a home owner in the eight ward but i just dont get this throw down going on about who's parade is more culturealy better.

divide and conquer comes to my neighbor hood centric mind.

i mean is lack of spellcheck a reason for hatin'?

i hope not.

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was an imcomplete post. but i meant the part about mardi gras snobism.

i just dont get the hatin on a mardi gras day.

ms.joy from isis should be able to keep her tradition just like the rest of the city.

thats all i'm saying.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Michael Homan said...

Sure Ms. Joy from Isis should be able to keep her tradition. But if the quotation in the Times Picayune is accurate, she should have used more tact. For her to claim that the Iris families would feel that their children would be in danger in Mid-City is inaccurate and insensitive. Same goes for the comments of Warren Riley. There are many families with children living in Mid-City.

7:28 AM  
Anonymous lucky said...

wow...I love just about everything about New Orleans...but you know what truly chaps my ass? The elitist attitude which is all to often displayed by some locals. Man...it's almost 2007...enough already with "Uptown is a state of mind" and "trailer trash parade routes". When I first got back to the city I took a short term rental uptown- it was a nice apartment, overpriced and the address was as UPTOWN as you can get...it was the WORST place I have ever lived...drug dealers two blocks over- abandoned/burnt out houses all around- blaring music and bass all hours of the night- a pack of wild dogs roaming the neighborhood killed my cat- potholes the size of my car- no parking spaces and we couldn't walk outside at night...now I'm near Carrollton & Orleans...rent is reasonable, I walk to the bank, PO, Brocato's, Parkway Tavern, SavAcenter, City Park, Museum and I can catch the Streetcar downtown all day long...plus I feel so much safer and at home...we're still deciding where to settle and buy a home and I can tell you the only place I won't go is uptown...NOW do you understand that there is good and bad ALL OVER THIS CITY and we can't condemn one area simply because we don't live there?? GROW UP and stop HATIN already.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a rider in Tucks, I do not condone what Ms. Joy said. However, I have to admit that I was upset that my parade might have to change its route just so Endymion could return to Mid-City ... which is what was being said when the story first came out ... Endymion would return to Mid-City and Iris and Tucks would have to go to that route - end of discussion. I paid my money to ride the traditional uptown route ... it would be patently unfair that this should change to get Emdymion back to Mid-City. I agree that getting the parade back to Mid-City should happen, but don't take the other parades with you when those riders did not sign up for that route.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Michael Homan said...

I agree with the latest Anonymous. We need to find a way to convince the police dept that this would be feasible.

8:15 AM  

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