Saturday, February 24, 2007

Struttin' by Centenary College: SHV 2007 Mardi Gras 066

SHV 2007 Mardi Gras 066
Originally uploaded by lobobox.
Thanks, David Hennington!

This article by maggie martin was the first major story on B & N. I don't think I've published it here. So, here 'tis:

Marching group, youth krewe new to this year's festivities
January 11, 2007

ORGANIZATION: Blanc et Noir Marching Society.
WHAT: a group that marches with a brass brand in Mardi Gras parades.
MEMBERSHIP: Open to the public.
DUES: $25.
FOUNDER: Robert Trudeau.
INFORMATION: 861-6809, or

By Maggie Martin

The horns will toot! The umbrellas will sway! The participants will dance!
So sound the whistle for the new Blanc et Noir Marching Society.

It premieres Feb. 18 at the Krewe of Highland Parade that struts its stuff in the Highland neighborhood, with new Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover serving as parade marshal.

With Blanc et Noir, Mardi Gras may never be the same.
Founder/Mardi Gras fan Robert Trudeau certainly hopes so.
Such groups, with a brass band, traditionally march in front of the regular Mardi Gras parades, getting people excited and roused up about the main event to come.

"We wind around the street and do a second-line dance. We might leave five or two minutes in advance of the parade," Trudeau said. "A lot of what we do is improvisation."

Mardi Gras fans can root for Blanc et Noir when the Highland Parade gears up at Columbia Cafe and meanders through the Highland neighborhood.
Loosely, that means, up and down Creswell, in and around Highland, down Herndon and Olive, past Centenary College, ending up eventually at Columbia Park where there is live music before and after the parade.
Capping off the day at the park "" Carnival de Columbia.

Highland krewe founder Matthew Linn, owner of Columbia Cafe, thinks the society will fit into the groove of Highland's parade.
"We are fun and off-center. We are not your stereotypical marching or truck parade," Linn said.

Like the Highland parade marchers, society members are not absolutely committed to the four-mile parade.
"You can do one mile and drop out. You can start up and stop when you meet up with your friends," Trudeau said. (Linn said those who sign up for Highland can come in at side roads or start or stop as they want.)
Trudeau says you never know what a good line dance is until you get the crowd involved. "It is magical," he said.

Blanc et Noir signed up with Highland when Linn told him the group could piggyback with the krewe's insurance.
"He came to our meeting and he recognized the idea was important to the continued development of the local celebration," said Trudeau.
Trudeau hopes this is the beginning of the growth of marching societies locally.
They are more inexpensive than traditional parades, he said. "You don't need to pay for a float. It is a lower investment," he said. "We would welcome other marching societies."
Anyone can join Blanc et Noir.

Admission is $25 and the money goes mainly to pay the brass band they will hire and the banner to identify the group.

Costumes can be anything, even a tux.
Artist Tamara Davenport and musician Bruce Flett are among those who already have joined.
Flett, a member of the popular Bluebirds, is intrigued by the history of the marching societies that go back at least 100 years.
"Fun is the main reason I am doing it, although I always go to the Highland parade with my kids," said Flett, an electric bass player who will be blowing on a trombone for this gig.

Davenport, a veteran at local Mardi Gras events, is looking forward to the camaraderie as much as anything.
"We don't have marching societies here like they do in New Orleans. ... I am looking forward to it," she said.
She is not sure what she will wear, but she will definitely have an umbrella to lead the way.

One of Trudeau's earliest New Orleans Mardi Gras memories revolves around pre-parade events.
"People came and the brass band played. They were flexible in their activities," Trudeau said.
He wants to bring that merriment to Shreveport-Bossier City with Blanc et Noir.
He wants the good times to roll.