I posted this picture of myself Sunday night, which I will now explain.
I am not sure how many of my readers even will understand this, but I will type about it anyway. As mentioned previously, CZ’s dad is in Endymion. When CZ and I arrived at our hotel on Friday afternoon, her dad called her, and asked her to ask me if I wanted to ride in Endymion if the parade was rained out Saturday night. I’d have to pay $550, but that was it. I told her yes, without really thinking about it. How often do these kinds of opportunities come around? Besides, at that point I figured the parade would not be rained out so I wouldn’t ride anyway.
That night at Herbsaint, he told me everyone had gotten an email that the parade was in fact rained out, I was riding. Also, I had this AMAZING duck and andouille gumbo that ruined me for eating gumbo the rest of the weekend. Dinner was fabulous, watching the parades roll by on St Charles was great, and ending the night at the Carousel Bar was excellent.
The next morning, I went over to the Hilton to meet her dad and go with him to a traditional pre-parade luncheon for members of a few floats. It was pretty cool; they had a live band, open bar, and buffet. The gumbo made me miss the Herbsaint gumbo. The rain came about an hour after we got there and was POURING. The lights even went off a couple of times. We left after doing everything they normally do before Endymion rolls, including second lining and doing Kamikaze shots. I ended up taking home some bananas and grapes. After a trip back to the Hilton that took a few detours, I was able to trade the tux I had rented for the costume I would wear. The guy who was originally going to fill in was going to wear my tux for the ball and luckily he’s the same size as me.
That night at the Endymion ball, we were supposed to get on the floats in costume and ride through the Convention Center. I had never been on a float, much less thrown anything from a float, and now I was about to ride through a massive throng of nicely dressed people on a float with Elvis on the front. All of my throws were already on the float, so all I had to do was organize them on the racks. We rolled through the ball and I threw a ton of stuff. I realized pretty quickly that I was terrible at aiming. I’m trying to throw a football from a moving float with an overhang, and the first few I airmailed over my targets’ heads. After the inside parade was over, I met up with CZ at the table and watched the concert.
The next day was the big day. I put on my costume and walked over to the Convention Center to board the float about 4:30. I had found out where Jacob would be, and where my parents would be. I had put together a bag of stuff for Jacob to get, and set aside things for my parents. We loaded stuff onto the racks and waited. The anticipation was crazy. Once everyone seemed to have their stuff ready, it was cool to look around at the other people without having to say “this is going to be incredible!” You could just feel it. The first few floats rolled out and it was happening.
Rolling down Tchoupitoulas was slow and go. We’d stop for a few minutes, then go, then stop, then go. It seemed like it took forever. The coolest part of the whole night was seeing the shadow of the float on one of the warehouses. You could cleanly depict Elvis on the front, then the people on the top of the float. I checked my phone and saw we were 3 blocks from Napoleon and texted my mom. When we got near Tipitina’s, I saw them. I threw them stuff, and thankfully the crowd wasn’t CRAZY INSANE, so they caught everything I threw them. I was going to throw them beads but they were loaded down so I said “y’all have enough beads!”
We turned the corner to Napoleon and it was like nothing I had ever done. The people were so loud and all over the place. I threw the stuffed animals CZ’s dad gave me to the little kids I saw. I threw the bigger beads I had and tried to get them to people who didn’t seem like they had very many beads. The glow sticks I had to throw were very popular. I have no idea why. People LOVED them. I would throw a bunch at once and people would scramble.
The most awkward thing was when the float would stop. CZ’s dad told me not to throw anything when the float stopped, because the crowd would just expect more. If you threw one thing to someone, then someone else would ask if they could get the same thing. The guy next to me threw when we were stopped, and every time he threw, people would want more. I made myself busy with unpacking more beads while we were stopped, but that did not make the situation any less uncomfortable. The highlight of the ride down Napoleon was the guy who asked for a blinky bead that was “a collectible”. As if I would throw some random dude on the street a collectible pair of beads even if I had any.
We turned onto St Charles, and I knew Jacob was going to be one block off Napoleon. Sure enough, I hear him yelling and saw him. I threw a bunch of glow sticks and had the crowd scatter and was able to hand him the bag. It was a successful handoff!
The farther we got down St Charles, the more the crowd changed. Less little kids, less families, more drunk frat boys. I knew CZ and her mom were going to be near Herbsaint, but I had to cross over to get to the other side of the float. The crossing over was not a problem, and I thought they’d be up near the barricade, but they were kind of far back. Then when we got in front of where they were, we couldn’t see them. I spotted CZ as the float pulled away and tried to toss a football, but I don’t think it made it.
The crowd was noticeably different on Canal. By that time I had gotten rid of my good stuff and was chunking everything I had left. CZ’s dad told me to throw everything because anything I did not throw I’d have to carry off the float. That was not happening, so I was throwing everything. I finally ran out after we had turned on Loyola, so only a couple blocks from the end. The float stopped, and all I had to take off was the stuff I was going to hand to CZ and CZ’s dad canvas bag. I had met a couple of new members at the open house a couple of weeks ago, and those guys did not throw all of their stuff. They had a lot leftover, so they were going to have to take it all off the float. I was glad I did not have anything more to take off than what I had. I said my goodbyes to the guys around me and got off the float.
I met up with CZ’s dad and we ended up walking up Poydras back to the Hilton. We caught up with his friends, and then ended up hitching a ride back when a guy in a black pick up stopped and offered us a ride. That was a blessing, because my legs hurt. After hours of balancing myself from the float starting and stopping, my left leg was really sore. We made it back to the Hilton where we met up with the women. We ate cheeseburgers at 1 am. It was the first food I had eaten since lunch. CZ and I made it back to our hotel about 2 am and I made it to sleep shortly after that. My first time riding on a float in Endymion was over, and now I’m thinking I may want to do it again.