Monday, April 25, 2011

Festivus for...

the rest of us. Or anyone that doesn't have family to go eat ham and deviled eggs with. Or for anyone that does have family to eat the sweet spring delicacies with, but would rather not. Or for people that forget that it is Easter. Or for people that don't give a shit that is Easter, but love living in NOLA. Or for Jews. That like strippers. And drag queens.

That's what Easter is to me now. Old strippers and drag queens. And booze.

So I know most people have heard of 'festivus' and have gotten a little chuckle over it at some point or another. But until you actually have to make a up a tradition so your family can feel like they are part of society, you don't really understand festivus. That's right. Until you have actually eaten Chinese food on Christmas, or gone out of your way on Easter to make it a point that you too have somewhere to be, you don't get festivus. Now don't get me wrong. I don't need a pity party. I very much enjoy my religion. I feel like it associates me with witty people that appreciate life. All of our jokes and prayers end with "lets eat" or at least "Thank you god for [insert food, wine, candles, special food, wine on Friday night, etc], lets eat." But, a few days a year, I kind of feel like I don't get whatever I am suppose to be getting. Like there is a large, overwhelming, over eating inducing happiness that I am just not plugged into. Or at least I use to feel like that. Until my family started making up our own traditions. I need to go ahead and define what I mean by 'traditions.' Our traditions center around high carb, high fat food and enough booze to keep a fraternity happy during prohibition. I guess a lot of people's family get togethers are similar, but I am trying to explain that if you are making up a tradition ('first annual...'), it has got to be good enough that you will want to repeat it on your own (without being prompted by Hallmark, the candy companies, or the prospect of a fat man squeezing into your chimney).

For as long as I can remember, we have had a Christmas tradition. We have gumbo on Christmas Eve (no ersters in mine, please) and grillades and grits on Christmas morning. We then unwrap our gifts and then sit around in our pajamas rubbing our stomachs like Alec Baldwin in The Cat and the Hat. OK- not really like that. That was just about the grossest image of lethargic humanity that I could conjure.

If you need a visual representation. (Be sure to watch it until the end because there is nothing better than Alec Baldwin digging in his belly button).

So this is what my family is like on Christmas. Except we are sitting around a Christmas tree. A really nice one. Actually, probably one of the nicest Christmas
trees any President of the Sisterhood has ever owned.
What can I say? We are Jews that like to decorate...
So growing up, I always felt like I belonged to something larger during Christmas time. Oh I'm sorry. Winter break. Holiday time. Whatever. But it took a few years (or 22 to be exact) for my family to figure out what to do with ourselves on the day that he is rising (spooookkkky if you ask me).
The first annual Labens celebrate Easter in New Orleans occurred in Spring of 2006. My parents were in town and we read that there were a few parades happening around town on Easter. That's right. More than one parade. Just for Easter. God- I love this city.
Anyway, my family made our first and only mistake when choosing which Easter parade to attend. We went to the one on St. Charles. For those of you who are not familiar, let me break down your choices:
  • Old ninnies ride carriages in nice suits and hats down St. Charles and then make a U-turn and ride the other way down St. Charles.
  •  The oldest, most mummified stripper ties herself to a float and invites some mummified friends and they put on hats and throw recycled beads and stale candy to French Quarter onlookers
  • Drag Queens put on their absolute Easter finest and hop into carriages and treat crowds to their spectacularness and throw some beads and plastic ehgs. (That's eggs in New Orleans tongue).

Here comes the p-rade!
Now, if a crowd of fun loving people had to choose, 9 times out of 10 of them would choose one of the second two options. And the only reason the 10th person didn't choose it is because they were too drunk after watching the ninnies roll up and down the Avenue that they couldn't remember what they were suppose to be choosing anyway. But back in 2006, we were a fun loving family, we just made an Easter tradition mistake and went to the Avenue fancy pants parade. I also invited all of my other friends that I knew wouldn't have anything to do: Leora Rockowitz, Michael Pinsky, and Cristiana Lupulescu. So to sum it up: Jew, Jew, and Greek Orthodox (and their version of Easter has nothing to do with hat finery and peanut butter cups made to resemble small eggs). We gathered together, brought our lawn chairs, and sat there on St. Charles. The first time the parade passed us was just about one of the most awkward things I had experienced. It was basically just us on the street corner waving to all of these women (and the disgruntled rabbit that led the procession). The only thing that was more awkward than the first passing of the sacredly fancy was the second passing of the sacredly fancy. After the carriages mosied by us, we scooted our chairs right across the neutral ground and caught them again. Like these people wouldn't realize they just threw us half of their shit. Also, like these people cared that they already threw to us- because they didn't have many other options. (Please note the wide open neutral ground behind us).

So- here we are, waiting like bumps on a Easter log (like a Christmas log, but Easter like.... no? doesnt work?), and the parade comes back down the street. During their second lap, we worked up the courage to ask for a photo op with the mascot bunny that led the way. We ran out into the street- stopped the bunny and posed with him. My dad held up the camera, counted in a silly like manner, and tried to take the picture. It didn't quite work. So he shouted out 'one more' at which point, Mr. Peter Asshat mumbled profanity loud enough that it made its way straight out of that fluffy layer of mascot face quicker than you can say "cussin bunny." So the three Jews and the Greek Orthodox giggled there in the middle of the street while my dad fumbled with the camera and the bunny said something along the lines of "mother fucker doesn't even know how to work the fucking camera." My guess is his crackhead girlfriend played "hide the carrot" with him before his tough day at work and he couldn't quite reach far enough to remove the carrot from his rabbit ass. Needless to say, I have searched high and low and cannot find the picture. So- the bunny might have been somewhat right that my dad wasn't quite sure how to function the camera, but still....

Easter loot!!!
While it was quite a memorable Easter, my family decided the second annual Labens family Easter in NOLA would be done a bit differently. We did our research and made our decision with the fun part of our brain and went downtown to the French Quarter to catch the stripper's and then the drag queen's parade. And we have never gone back to that profane mascot ninny parade again. Nevvverrrrr. Motherfucker.

    1 comment:

    1. Love these photos- blast from the undergrad!