Sunday, February 03, 2008

Keeping the pedestrian vibe alive in the Highland Parade, Shreveport

One of the inspirations for the Blanc et Noir Marching Society was artist Bruce Allen and the many motley mosey-along walkers in the Krewe of Highland Parade. Low-key but witty, Highland marchers have been known to push lawnmowers and shopping carts. Bicyclists have sometimes provided balance to the Camaro crowd.

Today the Krewe of Highland is the city's longest parade. Much of the length is provided by the arrival of floats from the other major krewes. Getting a second life from your Centaur float is an idea that works for both the riders and the watchers.

Yet the spirit of Highland is found in the zany, the do-it-yourself and in small-scale wackiness. I mean, to me Highland is catching beads from one float then handing them to the people on the next float for an almost-instant recycling effort.

Blanc et Noir is an over-the-top show in many ways. We are imitating black New Orleanians' benevolent societies' funeral customs.
By our very nature we are a parody - a good-hearted one - of a distant and historic phenomenon. So you can laugh heartily when we shuffle past you. But you can also groove on the Red and Black Brass Band. This is what it was like when Carnival began in New Orleans. Indeed, the swells rode in carriages. Almost everyone else was on foot. If you want to shuffle with Blanc et Noir for a block or two, not to worry. Jump in and keep the spirit of Highland alive by your spontaneous combustion.

1 comment:

Kathryn Usher said...

So much fun! Blanc et Noir was dazzling. The Shreveport Times picture of you was boss.