Sunday, January 01, 2012

Walking in the Krewe of Highland Parade is a peak experience: join Blanc et Noir Marching Society in the 2012 Krewe of Highland Parade on Sun, Feb 19

Blanc et Noir 10  by trudeau
Blanc et Noir 10 , a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

The Krewe of Highland Parade route is some 3 miles in length and most Blanc et Noirs second line the entire route. But you don't have to: parents pushing strollers, people whose health is at the walking level rather than dancing level - you are entirely welcome in the parade.

Blanc et Noir is about keeping alive the Carnival connection to the Crescent City. The Red & Black Brass Band, the cheap-but-interesting costumes, the umbrellas, the masks: all these are borrowed with due reverence from New Orleans.

It's not authentic. Most of us are not Black or Creole residents from Treme, New Orleans. But B&N co-founder Jerry Davenport was born and raised in the 9th Ward of New Orleans.

It's about community. Blanc et Noir musters an exceedingly diverse group, representing several of Shreveport's communities.

Subtly, it's about sustainability. We are walking, dancing or bicycling so as to avoid using a float, internal combustion engine and electricity for one sweet afternoon. We are there to show Shreveport that there is an alternative to mechanized marvels.

And the Red & Black Brass Band reminds everyone that live music is best.

Costumes should cost little more than $1.98, we like to say. Recycle some trousers, a coat, a hat and tie! Use cheap glue and fabric paint to make it come alive.

Masking is important. It's an ancient Louisiana tradition. It's mysterious and fun. But you are not required to use a mask. Face paint is easy and creative alternative. Dark glasses function as a sort of mask, don't they?

Umbrellas are not mandatory. It's so much fun to decorate an umbrella - and they are so inspired by the Big Easy - that they are very popular. But you may forget the umbrella and no one will be askance.

Nor is a black-and-white outfit mandatory. The name means "white and black" but you may costume in any color you like.

Money! The only B&N expense is that we have to pay the band. They have to rehearse, travel and perform. So we happily pay.

Your fee to join B&N is adjustable. We count on several members to pay a $100 for a family. But $50 is also royal. $25 per person is quite fine and keeps all alive. But $10 per person is also good. What about no money? A scholarship to B&N? Yes; no problem, if that's what you need.

- Robert Trudeau, Jan 1, 2012