Posts Tagged With: Parade


Three Peta activists shed most of their clothing and donned bright green paint to celebrate St. Patricks’ Day and get their message out at the same time: “Meat’s Not Green”. They passed out leaflets about eating a vegan diet.  Abandon meat, eggs and dairy products and go vegan.  The meat industry is a polluter that also gobbles up natural resources. This information and the pictures come from Josh Trujillo’s Seattle blog.

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The Peta ladies are tastefully covered for most sensibilities. But, we are a culture that shuns the naked body and public nudity as though there is something wrong with the natural human body uncovered. But, Seattle also hosts Nudestock, you know, like Woodstock?  Only it is a nude fest. People disrobe on street corners, go to work on public transit sans clothing, enjoy a parade and nudity in general.

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There’s just something fun about getting nude and enjoying the breeze, so  they say. And the watchers don’t seem to mind one bit.

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Peta activists were present at Nudestock along the parade route too. This time protesting the use of animal skins. bike (Copy)

Looks like a fun crazy day whether you participate or observe.  Everyone smiles, no one is being ugly or in your face. I like it! And, the top o’ the mornin’ ta yuh whether yee be green or orange.

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Mardi Gras has many aspects. We’ve seen some of the great events, the costumes, the food, the parades in Lake Charles. Chasing the chicken is another. DSC02706 (Copy)

These women were selling tickets to the gumbo dinner at the Grange Hall in Iowa, (I-o-way), a small town east of Lake Charles. The dinner is gumbo made from the chicken, the rice, the pig, or whatever can be begged, borrowed or stolen on the ride through town. That is tradition. Now, the dinner is cooked ahead of time and only the chicken gets chased, caught and released.

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Everyone was getting ready and excitement filled the air.

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Some chase with horses, others bring their ATVs, and trucks unload the kids who do most of the chasing.

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The girl in pink told me she always catches the chicken and the boys get mad at her, so this year she isn’t chasing. “Besides, it’s to too wet and dirty out there.”  She is so right. It has been a very rainy Mardi Gras.



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These two men entertained everyone waiting to get started for the first drop. They drop  chickens at several  predetermined spots, and the chase commences.

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The gumbo wasn’t ready when we arrived, but it smelled heavenly as we walked around and visited. Thanks go to this lovely lady cooking the chicken.

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We would  liked to have watched the chicken chase, which has a very serious history, but we had the good fortune to be invited to ride a float in the Fat Tuesday Parade. Isn’t that cool? The peasant classes in medieval times  would get hungry as their stores got  low. At times it was necessary to beg for food from the richer people and landed gentry. No one wanted anyone to know they had to beg, so they resorted to hiding behind masks, and costumes. Since just about everybody did it, it became a “festival”. They went out in a group with their wagons and horses to ask for food. Land owners  wanted to be rid of the motley crew of beggars, so they would throw out a chicken or a pig and get back inside for safety. The beggars had to catch the chicken or pig. Sometimes they  would find a bag of rice,  bread, or onions  left for them. They would go back to town and share the goodies and cook up a big gumbo for everyone to eat. The beggars, being masked could curse the king, make jokes about the aristocracy, or verbally flog an offensive neighbor without fearing retaliation, as they hid behind their masks.

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The plan was to drive to Renola Simon’s house to meet the various krewe members who were riding this year, and to enjoy a lunch of deer sausage and king cake. The sausage was so good, we found out where we could buy some. And, we got our first look at the float which has been stored at Renola’s house where it was first built by her husband and other krewe members in 1989 or 90. Renola told us a horror story about the float. Right after the men finished welding the frame together, lightning struck nearby and ball lightning rolled about the metal float. A frightening and unforgettable experience. The men had just gotten off the float and gone into the garage to put away tools. This is the back-end of the float where we entered. It also has a bathroom, which, by law, all floats have to have.

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Krewe members loaded hundreds of pounds of beads, roughly 50,000 strings of beads.

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Behind the beads are boxes of Mardi Gras plastic cups.

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Jim is showing off his dance technique after we loaded enough beads on hooks to throw. The bags next to the rails hold moon pies and other goodies to throw. One bag held snacks and drinks for the crew. One member brought cookies. We learned that riding a float is a big party. If it isn’t fun, why do it?

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The logistics of lining up a parade of huge floats are enormous and once you are in place, there is lag time. We took a walk and examined other floats.

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Other Krewes were dancing…

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…or drinking and dancing.DSC02784 (Copy)

This krewe drove in with their beads in a trailer. You can see the back-end practically touching the ground. They were just unloading their beads and getting them onto their float.

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After our walk, we did a bit of partying of our own.

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Some guys got us wired up for music, and you can see the dance floor isn’t very big, but dancing is part of the deal. I get the guys names all mixed up, but I think this is Cliff and his wife. She made their costumes and put all those sequins on. He taught me to Cajun dance. The steps are pretty simple if you don’t look at your feet.

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Everyone began to costume up. Some members  like to throw stuffed animals and tease the crowds who scream for them.

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This guy walked by the floats to show off his unique costume.

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This young woman was also riding a float for the first time. She is a nurse and engaged to one of the krewe member’s son.  We got a short lesson from Eva about how to throw beads.

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When everyone was ready, they posed for a picture. Don’t they look great?

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Then we were moving and throwing beads to the waiting crowds. It was so much fun to catch someone’s eye and land the beads right within their grasp. The crowd was thin and we only used half the beads, but what a thrill.

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All thanks to this matriarch of the krewe, Renola Simon. When we returned to the house, she showed us her Mardi Gras room, with many costumes, prizes, souvenirs, and memorabilia of her many years in the krewe which was her and her husband’s social life. They went dancing every week, sometimes twice a week. She served as President, was queen twice, and now is financial officer. “It keeps me young,” she said. She is a marvelous personality I will never forget.

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And Eva, too. Unforgettable personality. Her accent I only wish I had recorded, that down home true Cajun twang. And, she makes a great margarita, doncha know. I hated to say goodbye to Krewe des le Cajun.


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A return to the visitor center yesterday to kind of scope out the parade route and parking options netted me this picture of ducks that hug the lawn at the center. The center is near a body of water and these ducks seem to be fixtures. DSC02157 (Copy)

The previous day, they were cold and sleepy and huddled up for warmth. Pretty, anyway.DSC02368 (Copy)

Our plan for the day, go look at the art scene, check out the parade route, eat at Steamboat Bills, go see some old, beautiful houses  and then take a hike in the park when we returned. The heron painting is Ellen Anthony’s work,  available from Gallery By The Lake, a kind of studio, coop of local artists. Some very nice stuff here. No photos without permission.That decision always puzzles me because every owner gives it, if it is their painting. Why wouldn’t the others want their work advertised?

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Ellen does a wide variety of subjects and says she has fun doing it, like this one from a dream.

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And, a very nice abstract. Then I spotted the painting below, Will You Dance With Me?


While traveling the coast, a gallery owner told me that no one buys a cactus or a sunflower from her gallery, they only want, water, boats, birds and beaches. It occurred to me that when in Port cities, that is what you buy.  So, I thought to find something  Mardi Gras related, or Cajun.  The Cajun dancers by Jock McGreggor fit the bill and is  a small piece I can carry in the motor home.


At the Arts And Humanities Center. They post work from multiple artists. I liked this one by Keven Lawrence Leveque very much. Also a small painting.


I had a hard time choosing between the two. I bought this original oil, also very small and personable. Kevin told me he likes to paint relationships. I’m  bummed because I stood there with camera in hand and didn’t take a picture of the artist with his painting. I guess I got excited. Obviously this painting isn’t  Cajun or Mardi Gras themed.

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Jim’s favorite was Bill’s Boeings, also by Kevin L.  Leveque.  Everyone liked it. At three feet tall, not even available to us, size and price, but a great piece.

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I liked this cat by Julie Groth.

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Martin Luther King, by J. Simien. He did a good one of Obama, as well.

We decided to visit the Alexander Gallery. She used to display at the center. Her work didn’t appeal to me but across from her gallery is Pujo’s Street Cafe. The owner posts local originals in his restaurant. Great food and atmosphere in Pujo Street Cafe. Nice wines, too. A sidewalk table setting for hot days or smokers. No smoking inside. And, some good art. And, again, I purchased another small portrait entitled Elise, by Steve Whatley.

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The gals in the restaurant hated to say goodby to this small painting. They call her Sara after the girlfriend of the bartender she resembles. Again, nothing Cajun or Mardi Gras. Oh, well, who can account for personal taste.

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We drove along Pujo and Kirby, recommended by the visitor center for old historic houses.

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I took several more shots, but it was late and we were starving and wanted to try Steamboat Bills and do a bit of grocery shopping.

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Trees populate every street, a type of oak. They get covered with this plant. Probably a pest, but beautiful.

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Steamboat Bill’s is touted as one of the best restaurants in the U.S. The seafood gumbo was very good, but still didn’t compare to The Gumbo Bar in Galveston. Sorry Bill. I also tried a pistolette.   It is a Louisiana roll filled with etouffee of your choice. I chose shrimp. Excellent.

We shopped but had no time for a hike. It was cold and we were too tired to go back to town for the parade at 7:00 p.m. Darn.

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Again, braving the cold, we walked into Columbus to view the Cabalgata, a tradition where riders from both countries meet at the US/Mexican border. New Mexico dignitaries invite the Chihuahua dignitaries to accompany them, and both groups ride the three miles into Columbus to celebrate their common heritage where Hispanics and Anglos have long experienced a successful blend of cultures. We estimated about 300 horses rode in this unusual parade.

Leading the way was this Mexican dignitary outfitted as Pancho Villa.

There were shouts from bystanders as they recognized various riders from Mexico. Shouts of “bravo” and other Spanish words that I didn’t understand that brought friendly responses in turn.

Riders came in established groups, some with banners, or the same color scarves allowing us to think they have ridden in this Cabalgata year after year as a tradition.

They came as families.

A long ride on a small pony.  We shouted “bravo” to them for braving the cold.

They came as single riders.

Some with dancing horses. The number of riders blew us away.

On our walk to the park for the festivities, I saw these business-man bad guys, trying to look mean.

One week after Villa’s raid on Columbus, 10,000 troops led by General “Black Jack” Pershing led the Punitive Expedition into Mexico to capture Villa.  One skirmish with Mexican Federales near Parral, and President Wilson called off the search. The expedition was  the last true mounted cavalray action by the United States Army. A man outfitted as Pershing did some play acting for the cameras. He halts this group of riders at gun point.

We think  “Pershing” is speaking to the U.S. Sheriff of Luna County from some of the voices we heard in the crowd.

And, there was friendly sword and pistol play between the bad guys and “Pancho” who we think is a Sheriff in the state of Chihuahua. Villa’s forces were dispersed and Villa vanished into the back country never to raid again. In 1920 President Adolfo De La Huerto negotiated a peace with him and he was allowed to return to his ranch in Parral. Three years later he was assassinated by unknowns who were never arrested.

Whoever he was, we were fascinated with his showy saddle-horn and the friendly interplay.


Then we watched the horses ride out-of-town, or pack their animals into trailers and end their ride for the day.

It was like watching the parade all over again.

We watched as another dancing horse danced his way out-of-town.

We move today to Rockhound State Park. We enjoyed the festival and the food and I’ll blog it tomorrow.

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La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, Tucson Arizona…

is otherwise known as Arizona’s Celebration of the Cowboy and also known as the Tucson Rodeo. We drove the about seven miles from our RV parking spot to get to the rodeo grounds.

Click this link to see the official website…

In the morning we went to the parade. With more than 200 entries, the Tucson Rodeo Parade claims the title of the World’s longest non-motorized parade.

Here’s their link about the parade…

In the afternoon, we went to the rodeo. Here are some photos that I took…

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…

To see the other 48 photos that I took, click this link…

Last night was our final here at Moose Lodge #1964 ten miles south of Tucson, Arizona. We spent an enjoyable 1.5 hours saying good-bye to about a dozen of our newly made friends.

Today we will depart Tucson and head south to Nogales, Arizona.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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A small county, a rural county, not much of interest on the national radar happens here. We do have  scenic beauty with mountain vistas and plenty of trees.  One of those trees will be the 2012 Capitol Christmas Tree.This morning, volunteers will cut a previously selected 60 foot tree from the Stanislaus National Forest. A Miwuk tribal elder will bless the event before the tree is lifted by crane and set on a flatbed truck and attached to a water bladder at the base. It will then be transported to the Sonora Fairgrounds guided by the California Highway Patrol.

The tree will be greeted by the townspeople and become part of  a parade through town and culminate in all day festivities at the fairgrounds. The weather was perfect last night, to stop the sap from flowing at about 26*, hardening off for the long trip across country to Washington D.C.

The festivities include wreath-making, wine tasting, music and food, seventy displays, vendors and children’s activities. The festival begins at 10 a.m. today.  The tree will arrive for all to see and smell before it heads east.  It is a unique festival and those who see the tree  on television will have a personal memory of  the famous Whitehouse Christmas Tree, especially the many volunteers both local and beyond who put in countless hours of donated time to make it happen.  It is customary for the tree to be decorated and stand from the Monday after Thanksgiving through the end of December on the White House lawn.

The Whitehouse Christmas Tree is selected from a different National Forest every year, so if you miss this celebration, you aren’t likely to see another in a long time. The trip and related events are funded by private donations. Donations are still being accepted to help cover travel expenses for the 10 day trip, and can be sent to the Sonora Area Foundation. Only one tax paid employee, a veteran U.S. Forest Service person, Maria Benech, coordinated the event.

The tree will be taken down 108 to Oakdale, then Manteca, Sacramento, Modesto, Merced, Fresno, Kingsburg, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga, Barstow, Flagstaff, AZ., Gallup N.M. Amarillo TX, Tinker AFB, OK, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, Santa Claus, IN, Cherokee, NC, Greensboro, NC, Newport News, VA, Dumfries, VA, Hersey, PA to Washington.

It’s a bit early, but the season is upon us. Kind of makes a person wish to get out the Christmas Cards.





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