I’ve never enjoyed the various pleasures of Mardi Gras, nor even visited New Orleans, although I did once attend Key West’s Halloween celebration, Fantasy Fest. I imagine they’re somewhat similar, although Fantasy Fest (when I attended in ’94 at least) was primarily being enjoyed by droves of middle-aged naked people in body paint. I do recall one delightful couple who had dressed from head to toe in vintage ‘50s duds and were wheeling around an old fashioned baby stroller. When people leaned in to see the “baby”, a little person dressed in leather bondage gear would leap out making boogada-boogada-boogada noises. So I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re looking for a getaway built around heavy drinking and nudity, Key West is probably the more family oriented destination. Although New Orleans’ celebration lasts all week and they could probably use the money more. As I’m sure you’re aware, New Orleans has not exactly been suffering from a surfeit of good fortune lately. The way things have been going, we all know it’s only a matter of time before Ben Stiller unleashes Fuck the Meters (“the hilarious and heartwarming tale of one man’s struggle to overcome dyslexia and join a New-Orlean’s funk band”1) upon the already punch-drunk metropolis.
Speaking of the Meters, they, along with several of the Neville brothers, can be found on this non-stop rump-shaker from the heyday of New Orleans funk. Despite the pedigree, the stars of the show are the Wild Tchoupitoulas themselves, a tribe founded by George Landry (better known as Big Chief Jolly) in the early 70’s. It’s a swampy stew of New Orleans jazz, R&B, and blues, with an emphasis on appropriately dirty funk. The songs are built around traditional call-and-response chants, with niceley rough and raw vocals from Big Chief Jolly and the rest of his tribe. If you’re a fan of Professor Longhair, or early Dr John, grab this now.
The word fonktaculastic gets bandied about a lot in favor of bands who would barely be in danger of catching gonorrhea if it were actually spread by rhythmic clapping. But the Tchoupitoulas are the real deal. They're more than infectious. They'll leave rabid hoodoo brand upon your brain.
1. Script available upon request. You may also be interested in my original screenplays Forrest Gump II: The Gumpening and Abel Gance’s Napoleon Dynamite.