So carnival season kicked off in Baton Rouge with the Spanish Town Ball on Saturday night. In the year and a half that I’ve lived here, my only real interaction with a major cross section of Baton Rouge has been through LSU football games, so I was eagerly anticipating a look at the people of Baton Rouge through a completely different, pink-tinted lens. And while the Spanish Town Ball is not your prototypical Mardi Gras ball, in that you don’t have to be a member of any krewe to go, it’s just open to the ticket-buying public, it was still my first exposure to the Mardi Gras culture that occurs outside of standing along the parade route, making a drunken fool out of yourself for beads.
And the ball did not disappoint. Thanks to E’s acquisition of some insider information, we’d managed to score an entire table even after the ball was officially sold out. Our ranks included Wgo, Wrestlerette, BobbyP, Ms. XTC, and Ohio Player, fresh off the plane from Cleveland just that afternoon, having surreptitiously planned an academic meeting that just happened to fall on the weekend that occasioned the Ball. In the interest of promoting inter-website goodwill, we even managed to add Contessa and Professor Fury, of PrettyFakes fame, to our cadre of pink-clad revelers.
In what I would consider a reversed bill, George Porter, Jr. and the Running Partners were the first act, and put forth some spirited, funky standards of the New Orleans Mardi Gras music canon. Truth be told, Marcia Ball’s slower and more canned headlining act wasn’t that hot, but having gotten plenty funky to George Porter, I was more than content to sit at the table and sip a Spanish Town Greyhound (a variation on E’s favorite drink recipe that manages to both intoxicate and rejuvenate all in one fell swoop…it really is a miracle of modern drink) or to wander the floor checking out the costumes, which could be quite ornate, hilarious, or exquisitely ribald (E’s photos from the evening provide that record quite well).
So, now I feel like I’ve had my proper introduction to the carnival season, and look forward to the Spanish Town Parade, which I hope will also occasion a reunion with Gorjus and our most nefarious of creations during last year’s parade, the Screw-mosa.