Mardi Gras in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Jack Brass Band.jpg

Jack Brass Band, photographed by David de Young, play Bar Abilene on the first post-Katrina Fat Tuesday. Below is a listing of carnival-related events in the Twin Cities (check out the Krewe de Walleye page, the Cajun and Zydeco Events in the Upper Midwest page, the Mnblues.com calendar, and the City Pages calendar for more):


WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22

EARLY: The Rockin' Pinecones perform at 5:00 p.m. on KFAI's House Party (Wednesdays, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.; 90.3 FM/106.7 FM).

Then the Rockin' Pinecones play the Jackson's Juke Joint Annual Mardi Gras Party at the Viking Bar in Minneapolis from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; boogie-woogie pianist Andrew "Cadillac" Kolstad takes the stage after that. Music, food, party favors, costumes.

Cajun Hot Soles play Antoine's Creole Maison in Minneapolis (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.).


THURSDAY, FEB. 23

The Twin City Playboys play a Mardi Gras Party at Antoine's (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.).


FRIDAY, FEB. 24

EARLY: The Twin City Playboys perform on KFAI's Louisiana Rhythms (90.3 FM/106.7 FM), 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Everett Smithson Band hosts a Mardi Gras Party at Inn Kahoots in Hamel, MN.


SATURDAY, FEB. 25

Brassamba, DJ Pitol, and New Orleans Jazz Quartet play a Brazilian Carnival and Mardi Gras Fundraiser (a benefit for the Hill School in New Orleans and Crianca Esperanca in Rio de Janeiro) at Nochee in Minneapolis. $10; $20 suggested donation. 7:00 p.m.

JJ's Zydeco Paydirt play a Mardi Gras Party at Floyd's Bar in Victoria, MN. $5 cover includes masks, beads, jambalaya, and crawdad boil.

The Twin City Playboys and the Cajun Hot Soles play Lee's Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis.

Terrance Simien and the Mallet Playboys play the Mardi Gras Moves Upriver event at 8:00 p.m., with dancing, casino-style gambling, a silent auction, and more. (Silent Auction: 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) Graves 601 Hotel, 601 1st Avenue North in Minneapolis. $50 per person; black tie requested. (This is apparently a fundraiser for San Miguel Middle School.)

EARLY: Cajun Jam at Betsy's Back Porch Coffee in Minneapolis (10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.).

Everett Smithson Band plays MG's in Menomonie, WI (9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.)


SUNDAY, FEB. 26

The New Riverside Ramblers play St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.).

Cajun Hot Soles play the Half Time Rec in St. Paul (8:00 p.m.).

MONDAY, FEB. 27 (LUNDI GRAS IS FOR TOURISTS)

Cajun Hot Soles play another Mardi Gras Party at Antoine's (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)


TUESDAY, FEB. 28 (FAT TUESDAY)

Jack Brass Band (City Pages profile, Myspace page) play Bar Abilene in Minneapolis; $5 cover with 2-for-1 taps and wells.

Romantica (Myspace page), Rachel Kurtz, DBK, Jonathan Pemberton Quartet, and the Roe Family Singers play a benefit for the New Orleans Musicians Clinic at Club Underground in Minneapolis, $5. 7:00 pm. (Then on Ash Wednesday, Jayber Crow, Molly Maher, the Jon Pemberton Quartet, Jon Rodine & the Liquor Pigs, and Fat Kid Wednesdays sing "songs of grief and loss.") Both shows are presented by Mercy Seat Lutheran Church. 21+.

JJ's Zydeco Paydirt play Dixie's on Grand in St. Paul (6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.).

The Twin City Playboys play Antoine's (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.).



Mardi Gras in New Orleans

New Orleans Mardi Gras 2006.jpg

Feb. 19 float in the Krewe of Barkus, photographed by Jon Donley for Nola.com

I haven't been to my onetime city of residence since I drove down there with a photographer for the Minnesota Daily in 1998, writing this memoir. The introductory quote was somehow cut from the online version, by the way:

Well if you're going to New Orleans, you ought to go see the Mardi Gras/If you're going to New Orleans, you ought to go see the Mardi Gras/When you see the Mardi Gras, somebody'll tell you what's Carnival for

-- Professor Longhair, "Go to the Mardi Gras"

I doubt anyone will tell me what carnival means this time around, either, when I drive down this week, now that Katrina has made the whole enterprise at once more poignant, surreal, and decadent.

I also doubt I'll be any more faithful a blogger down there than I have been up here, as of late. My life have been cut by chaos, nuff said. In a way, focusing my attention on New Orleans up close is a form of retreat and meditation. I do plan to write about the experience and take photos, while toting this great book and this unread one. I'll hit some of these shows, and these parades.

For now, I'll quote my old high-school friend David Jeffries, whose house I'm renting: "New Orleans is the drain of North America--politically, culturally, economically." If nothing else, I'll pour a litte more money down the drain.


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