(Note from the Editor – The Photographer/Writer is shamelessly slacking and abandoning APA Writing Style and thumbing his nose to the editorial process. A few years back when he had six national titles on one of the world’s top 10 Newpaper Websites he would not have gotten away with such a travesty. However, since that organization was bought out and gutted, and he shoots, writes, edits and owns this site, he is choosing to ignore, nay, even thumb his nose at the editor. If you are just looking for the link to tonight’s photo albums, just scroll to the end.)
After being hit by a garbage truck in 2017, years of nightmares, a few surgical procedures and lots of therapy, folks question why I would be back in the parade route shooting photos again. As my brother Dan said to me a couple months after the accident, “You look like you are ready to give up… You don’t give up.” That bit of pseudo encouragement has stuck with me and I actually wrote, “You Don’t Give Up!” on a big piece of paper and hung it in my bedroom to encourage me to keep going.
That isn’t why I still shoot Mardi Gras Parades. I say “still” as I never stopped. When Mardi Gras 2018 came around a few months after the accident I hired a new graduate with a degree in Journalism (now a News Producer for a FOX station) to shoot for me and taught him a bit of what I know.
For some folks it is the appeal of seeing celebrities at Mardi Gras and it is fun. For me, well, tonight when mom asked who the celebrities were I told her Harry Connick Junior was the big one she would know.
The name Bryan Cranston rung a bell but until I saw him I couldn’t place him. No offense to him as he is a great actor. I just couldn’t remember. Neither he nor Mr. Connick – or is that Mr. Junior? (editor glares) – or the other celebrities I have see along the way have taken any particular notice of me.
Well, not entirely true. Will Ferrell did use the photo from my article on his ride on his Facebook Fan Page with, “Happy Mardi Gras Everyone!” During Nathan Fillion’s ride he pointed at me and then through a perfect ringer on my head and camera while waiting for a fire to be put out on his ride. I also got an invite to a sneak peak at the first movie shot at John Schneider’s studio and got to watch while he was editing another while visiting him at John Schneider’s place. Celebrities are cool but they are just people too. There is so more to it than just the folks whose names are shouted by the masses as they ride by.
I love the beautiful floats of Mardi Gras. I love the colors and the flashing lights.
I love seeing the excitement (and sometimes the indifference) of the riders on the horses, cars, tractors, floats and other modes of transportation as they shout, sing, dance, laugh and throw their plastic treasures to the crowds.
It is easy to get distracted by the sounds, lights, colors and motion and miss the workers and workings of the parades. Sometimes I enjoy watching the watchers, the crew who go in advance and to the sides of the marchers. It is great to see their care of their Krewe as well as seeing them enjoying the party. Sometimes they are intense and uncertain as they approach, wondering if you are friend or foe.
Sometimes they go a bit overboard as with the 610 Stompers when they had me against the barricade and were yelling me to back up this evening. I had to shout back, “I can’t! I’m against the barricade!” Seeing the deflated state of the marchers I understood the over protection as the group looked pretty rough. I just took a pic of their logo and hugged the barricade.
When you hide behind the camera folks sometimes wonder if you are really looking at/shooting pics of them. Others seem to know as did a few of the friendly folks on the Coast Guard float this evening.
There is a special, infectious energy that flows in Mardi Gras parades… An enthusiasm that everyone needs in their lives. For those who don’t know the root of the word, enthuse means God within. He gives both sunshine and rain to all and we all need Him and His joy. In scripture He calls us to sing, dance, shout, and cry out for joy. Mardi Gras isn’t a substitute for a living relationship with God as He desires but it the flow of that joyful energy is to me an evidence that His Spirit is flowing when His people celebrate and cry out with Joy.
Tonight’s parades were a delightful time. The young lady in the above pic expoded into my camera’s site, startling me and leaving me laughing. It left me still smiling now as I look at the clock and contemplate that Zulu riders are already gearing up. With that thought in mind I will bring this missive to a close but with an offer I have never extended. Those of you who were in the pics I posted in this article, find me on Facebook and friend/follow and contact me. If you do by the end of March 2020, and verify you are the person in the picture, I will send you something special (maybe a copy of the Mardi Gras Memories “Join the Parade” game, our coloring book, T-shirt, or just a sticker. No promises but the first few will probably get the best. This isn’t a contest but my way of saying thank you for the joy you brought me tonight! X-)
For more photos from the parades, check out our 2020 Mardi Gras New Orleans Photo Albums. Oh, and check back as we still have a couple thousand yet to upload and more coming!
For Thousands more photos from Mardi Gras 2020, check out our 2020 Mardi Gras photo albums. If you are going to take any of our photos for your Facebook or for other use, please request to do so from the copyright owner, John N. Collins, via his Facebook, like his Fan Page, Follow him on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and if you see him on the street, say hi!
laissez les bon temps rouler!