Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Mardi Gras, Everywhere You Go!"

Krewe of Zulu 
This is a historical display of the Krewe of Zulu at the Lakeside Mall in Metairie, LA. I shot this while downing some beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde after having had a wonderful talk with a tech dude at the Apple Store which is directly across from this display. 

In the fifties, my sisters and I were forbidden to go and follow the Zulu parade although they did follow the main Krewe, which was called,"Rex" and ran the entire distance on St. Charles Avenue into downtown New Orleans. 

 Zulu revelers, at one time, wore grass skirts and African attire with their faces all painted up like Indian warriors occasionally throwing real and sometimes decorated coconuts out to the crowd. You had to be on your toes to not get beaned with a flying coconut. Most of the time, revelers in costume would just point to a particular person from the crowd and hand the valued coconut to the parade goer, but I have heard some wild stories of the damage a thrown coconut could do.

Drunken fist fights, knife and gun play were all my parents heard, which did occur back in the twenties and thirties when the club was in it infancy. It wasn't until we were well into our teens that we really got to see what the krewe was all about and by that time, the krewe was sporting lavish costumes of beads and feathers not unlike the Mardi Gras Indians as they danced threw the parade route on foot and on floats.

The Zulu Mayor's Costume
Anyway, here in the local mall, as in New Orleans, Christmas trees and quickly turned into Mardi Gras trees with fleur de luis, tragi-comedy masks, strings of beads and purple, gold and green ribbons. King cake parties abound everywhere and red and green decorations give way to purple, gold and green. For sure, it will be a fun time before Ash Wednesday and the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club will be definite part of the celebrations.

Copyright 2015/ Ben Bensen III

Friday, January 9, 2015

"Frozen Tundra, Taxes And A Chickadee!"

A Folsom, LA resident from the Carolinas...
Well, yesterday, I did just about everything I could do to put off finishing my expense report for the year, 2014. I even cleaned both toilets, cleaned my paintbrushes and dusted the poinsettia, but when I finally got in the tax groove again, I was distracted, thankfully, by birds pecking at the frozen bird bath looking for a drink. The temperature barely got over freezing and three different times, I warmed up some water to melt the ice and give the birds a drink. The bird bath froze over within a few minutes each time.

Around 3 or 4pm, a chickadee ( pictured below ) skated across the "frozen tundra" in search, once again, for a drink, and this time I warmed up a bigger pot of water and within a few minutes poured it over the frozen ice. Naturally, he took off for the safety of our maple tree, but five minutes later, or about a half dozen miscalculations on my expenses, I noticed once again, the little bird with a "best man" tuxedo on, always sharp with clean lines, a perfectly white and starched shirt and cummerbund with a black bow tie and top hat, was perched along side of the bath. Nervously straddling the rim and the water line, he leaned over to test the water to get a drink.

Or so I thought!

The bird took about few sips and then, totally immersed himself in the still warm and steamy pool, splashing around, dunking his head, and then shaking it, spreading his wings and tail feathers to take full advantage of the temporary jacuzzi I provided just for him... or so, he thought.

Feeling refreshed, and much more spry than before he plunged into the healing warm waters, he hopped out of the bath, shook off the many droplets of warm water and rested for a moment, as if to catch his breath. As he did, steam was wafting off his little body, like someone who jumps out of a hot jacuzzi, runs and jumps into a bank of snow, and then, dives back into the warm, bubbling jacuzzi.

After straightening out his little formal attire, in the blink of an eye, he was gone! And, I just sat there, amazed!

Copyright 2015/ Ben Bensen III

Thursday, January 1, 2015

"No Need To Test The Waters With Your Little Toe"...

Oh Tannenbaum...
Not quite ready to embrace the new year, not me, not yet. All too quickly, the tree is down, the presents opened and the greeting cards from friends become a package from the IRS. Sorry, I'm still enjoying Christmas... stubbornly, I guess.
No need to test the water with your little toe, because you're gonna get pushed in regardless. That's my thoughts about the new year! Let everyone else, go racing into the new year... whichever year... pick one!

Holding hands, we stared at the blinking lights on the tree,
Though Christmas is gone, it’s not for you or for me.
The glowing angel on the treetop, her wings spread out so wide, 
Seemed to pine for a tune ‘bout the Christmastide.

Though we searched and we searched,
For the angelic snow queen. 
All we could find, to really set the right scene 
Was an auld lang syne tune sung high up and clean,
It’s a auld lang syne song to welcome 2015!

Happy New Year, Y’all... I guess!

Copyright 2015/ Ben Bensen III