Posts Tagged With: Costumes

Lake Charles, Louisiana – Day 7

The motorhome is parked at the 1,086 acre Sam Houston Jones State Park about 12 miles north of the city. We are here been here enjoying Mardi Gras which ended yesterday.. We plan to depart here tomorrow.

You can read about Lake Charles by clicking this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Charles,_Louisiana

You can read all about the history of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana by clicking this link…
http://www.swlamardigras.com/about/history.cfm

Yesterday we rode on the Krewe de Cajun float in the final Mardi Gras Parade. You’ll get to see those photos tomorrow.

Today’s photos are from Monday. Heading out at 4:00 PM, the first stop was to respond to an invitation from Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach to visit him at his office. He has been Mayor since 2000. He is a very pleasant and knowledgeable man and we enjoyed a 45 minute visit with him.

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

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He has a beautiful abstract painting of Lake Charles in his office…

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Everyone we talked to spoke very highly of him….

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Both the Mayor and ourselves had to move on to attend the Royal Gala at the nearby Civic Center. The Royal Gala is the Cinderella moment of the season which features the 2013 courts of more than 50 Krewes with kings, queens, royal dukes and duchesses, captains, courtesans and jesters, It’s where they get to strut their stuff in their fabulous finery. Depending on the size of the Krewe…the strutting runs anywhere from one to five minutes.

This is where the Royal Gala took place. We sat on the left side about 1/2 way up with our new friends from the Krewe de Cajun…which had it been a football field would have been the 50 yard line…

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Before the program began, a member of the 12th Night Revelers posed with a child…

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Before I show you the photos, you need to know the conditions were most difficult. All photos were taken hand-held. A purist would have used a tripod. In addition to being far away, the subjects were, because of the moving spotlights, in the light one second and in the dark the next second…and they were constantly moving. Here;s a short video which will help you understand the circumstances of the event. Just click the link…
http://youtu.be/yiCH42t37o4

Now that you understand the photo difficulties involved…here are some of the photos that I took…

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As the revelers left the runway, they stopped and bowed to the assembled royalty…

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The colorful program ran an enjoyable 2+ hours.

Tomorrow you get to see the photos from the final day of Mardi Gras where we got to ride on the float of the Krewe de Cajun.

Enjoying Louisiana Mardi Gras is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Louisiana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

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If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

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SCOPING OUT THE TREASURES OF MARDI GRAS

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We decided to find the Mardi Gras Parade route in Lake Charles, and see what ever the town had to offer. First stop?  The Visitors Center. Tables filled with entries in the local contest for float designs. School kids, various clubs, and adults as well get involved.

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They are limited in size, not much bigger than the typical shoe box. Anyone can vote on their favorite and prizes are awarded in each division. Clever and in sync with the city’s biggest event of the year.

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Very helpful people waited on us and explained the area, the Mardi Gras Balls, Parades and so on. This handsome alligator is a fixture there. It all started with the Chicago Cows. In Murphys our artists decorate frogs. We see it all over the country when we travel. Lake Charles it is alligators. How neat is that?

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As we were headed downtown, we spotted a historical cemetery and decided to have a look. Boggy ground forces burial above ground in cement crypts. DSC02188 (Copy)

Three beautiful sculptures attracted my attention. The recent rain made what appeared to be tears running down the child’s face. DSC02183 (Copy)

From an Indian village to  a Civil War Military Post and then a cemetery.  The spot is historic  and remembered.

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We went to the local historical museum for Calcasieu Parish. (Pronounced cal-ca-shu.)  We often see museums in old houses where each room is furnished according to the times. Here, instead,  mock-ups, like dioramas, of rooms. You could see everything in it.  I liked that approach better than rooms where you can’t get a picture of everything in it.

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There is always something different in a museum that represents the area and I wasn’t disappointed.

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These are old Mardi Gras masks.

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Crossed pistols are used as part of the rail decoration on a bridge we crossed. They are small and when crossing the bridge I wasn’t sure I was seeing right. The museum had the answer. The bridge IS decorated with crossed pistols, the significance of which I did not ask of the docent. I did a poor job of covering the museum because they had a special exhibit of seven Matisse’s , an equal number of Joan Mirro’s and three pieces of decorated pottery from Picasso. I got very excited about the ceramics because I had never seen his ceramic work before.  I’m not a fan of Mirro’s work. But Matisse I like and I couldn’t get very interested in the rest of the museum with this stellar exhibit going on. (No pictures, of course.) I entered Picasso Ceramics in a web url and found a lot of it for sale. Some of it in the $60,000 range, and some in the $3,000 range. I found it interesting anyway.

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From there we went to the beautiful Old City Hall building where they were featuring an exhibit of fifty of the best photos from National Geographic.  A riveting exhibit  showed the pictures with the story of how the photographer got a particular shot. Underwater Titanic, a lion fight, a Kabul group of women in traditional chadri, with a small child, endearingly clear faced and happy, innocent of her black covered future. A white wolf jumping icebergs, a charging elephnt, a polar bear swimming underwater, nappiing children covered with dust from Sub-Saharan Mali. A lonesome cowboy, branding and castrating cattle,a bustling city scape in New York. No pictures of course. I’m determined to find out if National Geographic has published them in one feature of their magazine and buy that copy.

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We couldn’t take pictures of the exhibit, but we got good advice about where to have lunch from Latin DeClouet…

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…and Harold Raney.  We got to talking about French heritage, and like us, both Latin and Harold are predominantly French.

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My salad, and Jim’s French onion soup were delicious.

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The service was great, the menu terrific, about sixty different choices of tea and a bit of gossip. DSC02252 (Copy)

The Noblesse Oblige is located across a side street from the City Hall.

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Lake Charles has train tracks running down the middle of one of their major streets. We drove to the Arts and Humanity Center to see the Mardi Gras Museum.

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Earlier “fancy” costumes were relatively simple. That is, if you can consider the above costumes of retired Queens simple.

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Now a queen is more likely to dress in elaborate costume.

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Feathers and sequins are de riguer.

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This costume is heavily laden with rhinestones to make the Statue of liberty and New York skyline. Heavily laden, heavy to wear.DSC02270 (Copy)

But, how heavy can you go? Check this costume out below.

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Here is a picture of its maker and wearer. The head-dress is half again as tall as he is. DSC02271 (Copy)

In the right hand corner you can zoom in and see how huge this man’s costume is. The museum is so stuffed full, in some areas you cannot get back far enough to shoot a full picture. Each retired King and Queen  has a picture of  themselves in costume.

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In this costume, the king’s head sits between the opened jaws of lions. All of them are amazing and the price to get in is $2. It is the largest Mardi Gras Costume museum in the world.

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There is another part of Mardi Gras costuming called during the Chase The Chicken, which is the real basis for Mardi Gras. Those costumes look like this. We will be chasing the chicken on Fat Tuesday.DSC02288 (Copy)

Elaborate costuming  is one thing. Size is another. Capes or trains from the museum hang from ceiling to floor. This old building has high ceilings. During Mardi Gras 2010, we learned that people spend thousands of dollars for their costumes. They begin working on the next year’s the day after Mardi Gras is over.

 

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Always dramatic, cost is no object.

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I hope you can get some perspective of this place. Difficult to photograph because most of the costumes are tightly packed together and over lappiing each other. You must go for yourself.

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Lake Charles, Louisiana – Day 2

The motorhome is parked at the 1,086 acre Sam Houston Jones State Park about 12 miles north of the city. We are here to enjoy Mardi Gras and will depart on February 13th.

Yesterday we began exploring the local area.

You can read about Lake Charles by clicking this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Charles,_Louisiana

You can read all about the history of Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana by clicking this link…
http://www.swlamardigras.com/about/history.cfm

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

First stop was at the Lake Charles Visitors Center…

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In Louisiana, Counties are called Parishes. We are currently in Calcasieu Parish. So for our second stop we went to the Imperial Calcasieu Museum…

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Next stop was at the 1911 Historical City Hall…

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where an exhibit of the 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic was on display. There were NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED signs posted everywhere. Sorry I cannot show you any photos, but you can read about the exhibit by clicking this link…
http://northcalcasieu.kplctv.com/news/news/60707-historic-city-hall-lake-charles-host-national-geographic-exhibit

Latin DeClouet works in that building. I thought he has an interesting face…

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At our lunch stop I had a bowl of genuine delicious French Onion Soup. Mary had a Fala Shrimp Salad…

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We did not partake in these desserts, but thought they would make a nice photo…

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Final stop of the day was at the Central School Arts and Heritage Center where there are some nice paintings…

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Also at that location is the World’s largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes. Being located in an older school building made photography somewhat difficult…

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You can read about this museum by clicking this link…
http://www.swlamardigras.com/year-round/mardi-gras-museum.cfm

All in all, a most enjoyable day!

Enjoying beautiful historic areas is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Louisiana. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

3E23M33J85Gb5Fc5M2cc4ab5610239cb71a2b

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A LAID BACK DAY.

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We drove up the coast headed for Galveston. We stopped at a BUC EES, I think that is how you spell it. I saw a  huge billboard advertising genuine Czech Kolaches. Well, as y’all know by now, I’m a foodie. If I haven’t tasted it I gotta try it. They had sausage and jalapena, sausage, sausage and cheese and ham and cheese. Well, guess what a kolache is just a Czech name for a sandwich. These were not even good sandwiches. White, pasty bread, the sausage itself was good, but the cheese was Velveeta or its cousin. People must love them, but I’ve never been a sandwich person and these were  mundane. (They are eaten heated.)

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We drove past miles of beautiful beach. Jim commented how nice it is that Texas has many beach exits for people to enter the beach. They didn’t allow private builders to gobble it all up and prevent the public from enjoying the beach like in Florida and many places in California. But it is January and people were swimming out there? I guess I have to try it, because the weather is warm enough.

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We waited downtown for about three hours to get permission to park in a very crowded American Legion. We waited happily catching up on our reading, but the trees wanted to scrape the top, the place was busy and narrow. In the end, we moved 15 miles to the mainland  and found this friendly VFW, post 8248.

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We had a couple of drinks and had fun visiting with Kathleen and Denise.  Denise told me about a new food to try. The Spanish call it barcoda. I won’t tell you what it is until we find and taste it. Hey, gotta keep up my reputation for trying new foods. Denise is the Commander of an American Legion Post and a member of this VFW. Fun gals. Kathleen is hoping to hit the road some day.

Since this is a short blog, I thought I’d tell you about a Port Aransas wedding. Weddings can be very personal. I once saw a wedding invitation posted on a light pole in downtown Murphys. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but it read, Sandy Bristow has finally gotten Ricky Sanders out of the bars and off the streets of Murphys. Come join us for the event at Murphys Park, etc. etc. with a picture of Sanders  with a lasso around his  neck and his new bride in a cowboy hat and boots.

I read about the Port Aransas wedding in the Coastal Bend’s Community Magazine. Because it was Halloween, it was a two day wedding. The setting was a Port Aransas Beach Lodge described as  laid-back and casual, nestled in the sand dunes with a commanding, panoramic view of the Gulf with awesome sunrises.  The day before the wedding,  gaiety started as the sun began to set. Guests donned their Halloween costumes and went off in rented beach carts for a fab dinner at LaPlaya. Afterwards, in full costume, they set off for the Salty Dog where they drank and danced . The next day, they hired a boat and went on a two-hour cruise. Entertaining land locked guests with the beauty of sky, sea and sun with dolphins playfully posing and following the boat enraptured them.  Back at the lodge, the guests enjoyed a scavenger hunt, a white elephant party and a final ceremony at sunset on the wharf. The dinner was a crab boil with champagne.

Sound like fun?  Wow!

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Brownsville…The Southern-Most Point in Texas.

Yesterday we drove the motorhome the about 25 miles from Port Isabel to Brownsville, Texas.

We spent the night parked at VFW Post #2085. Now that we have reached the southern-most point in Texas, at this latitude the Gulf of Mexico forces us to drive North to continue our journey. Later this morning we’ll drive the about 120 miles to Kingsville, Texas.

Brownsville is unique in that it is located at the southern-most tip of Texas and across a not-very-wide Rio Grande River lies another country…Mexico. Because Brownsville is also close to the Gulf of Mexico, it has a most interesting history. You can read its history by clicking this Wikipedia link…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownsville,_Texas

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…

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As always, I like to show the view from the dinette window…

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After our arrival at the VFW yesterday morning, we unhooked the Bronco and drove the about five miles to old town area of Brownsville. The museum was the kind I really like…it had lots of old black and white photos. We also visited the Stillman House (founder of Brownsville) adjacent to the museum. After another shrimp lunch we visited the Costumes of the Americas Museum. Here is the link to the Brownsville Historical Complex Museum’s website…
http://brownsvillehistory.org/

Here are some of the photos that I took…

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Here’s the link to the Costumes of the Americas Museum Website…
http://costumesoftheamericasmuseum.net/

To see the other 54 photos that I took, you have to click this Picasa Web Albums link…
https://picasaweb.google.com/110455945462646142273/BrownsvilleTexas

Enjoying interesting old historical cities is another joy of the full-time Rving lifestyle!!!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Texas. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…

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Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein

3E23M33J85Gb5Fc5M2cc4ab5610239cb71a2b

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
http://ramblinmanphotos.wordpress.com/

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MURPHYS GRAPE STOMP

I always say, if you are going to a grape stomp, go in style. Yes indeed.  Don’t I wish it was my ride.

The Murphys Grape Stomp is also a street faire, but I’ll get to that tomorrow. My friend and I wandered  around town and met with any number of costumed participants, waiting their turn to stomp. The Wild Ones hadn’t stomped yet.

Welches Wenches had just placed sixth in their heat. They qualify for the finals if they place in the top ten.

“The Foot” didn’t register to stomp.  He enjoys the fun of being in costume. And, drinking beer. This may be a wine event, but, hey, beer was pretty popular, too.

If you are  going to stomp, you may as well get fortified with a glass of liquid grapes, first!

The volunteer crews load the buckets with wine grapes.

The stage is set with 10 barrels and 10 buckets of grapes. Ten teams compete at once. A bucket of grapes is placed beside each barrel while the audience waits to cheer for their favorites.

The contestants line up, some stomp barefooted, some ruin their shoes.

They dump their grapes in the barrel on cue. Then wait for introductions of each team which leaves them time to discuss and work out any last-minute strategy. The team member on the ground helps scrape the juice through the spout into the waiting vessel to be measured.

A team from Chico has won the event 8 times and has set the record for the amount of juice collected during one stomp.  They’ve quit stomping this year and this young team is Chico’s new hope. They’ve received plenty of advice from the retiring team.

They’re off and stomping. People I’ve talked to say, it is harder than it looks.

The scraper is considered as important as the stomper. The scraper’s tatoo reads:  Don’t be afraid to go after what you want to do and what you want to be. Don’t be afraid and be willing to pay the price.” A philosopher.

Some of the stompers have several teams. They form a club to attend the stomp every year. I saw three couples, all women dressed like men. They call themselves the Batchelorette Party Crew.

These two women have dressed up and designated themselves the Grape Fairies. One is the Night Fairy and the other is the Day Fairy of the Grape Stomp.

This guy with the hot dog hat was with a team of about six or seven members with t-shirts proclaiming “Stomp Your Wienie.”  Maybe they are trying for a different kind of stomp, but I’m guessing everyone is simply having a good time at the grape stomp. I did too.

 

 

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