Friday, April 20, 2012

I like your leg.

Katrina hit during my senior year of college- which, to say the least, put a damper on my last year. (Bonus points for the worst pun ever?) I moved to Boston for the semester, played refugee with a very good friend's family (thanks Nicole, Gasper, Janice, and Alex! no thanks, Max) and learned things like where to get the best cannoli, how to not make eye contact on the T, and why people own long underwear.

When I got back to school in New Orleans, I felt like I was given a new shot at life but also felt like every day that passed was a huge milestone and so every morning I woke up more and more sad knowing that I was about to graduate from unreality. My parents knew I was having a tough time with this, as well, and decided that they wanted to give me an early graduation gift- and got Nicole and me a spot on Muses, an all women's Mardi Gras parade. It was a big "Thank you" to Nicole and pretty much the best graduation gift ever for me.

The night of the parade was a blast. It was one of the most memorable experiences that I don't remember that I have ever had. It was certainly an amazing way to celebrate my four years in New Orleans and Nicole and I couldn't have had more fun.

At the end of the parade, my Dad picked us up downtown and, upon my demand, took us to F and M's (a total dive bar- and in the top four of my "favorite places on Earth" list). On the way to the bar, we were stopped at a red light when my Dad interrupted the inebriated conversation with "Leila- GO GET IT!" I had no clue what the hell he was talking about and explained that to him. "Right there- on the median- go grab it!" I stared at him blankly and he put the car in park, got out and ran down the median. I couldn't even imagine what he was going after that would make him park his car in traffic, but didn't have long to try to figure it out.

He got back in the car with a mannequin leg.


"Loooookkk!," he said as he held up a "life like" leg with perfectly pointed toes. "It's amazing..."

"Dad- the light is green- come on- I'm ready to go to F and M's and you're weird."

Little did I know, my Dad just found the newest addition to our Mardi Gras crowd, Poydras. My Dad proudly carries "her" out to any parade and has come to be known as "the guy with the leg." Yes- he's that guy.

Poydras has been adorned with fish net stockings stocking and glitter shoes shoe and dozens of people stop to take pictures with her each year.

Yes- I know I am chunky, but it is the leg what we are looking at here.
Who gets to hold the leg has become a pretty big thing. It attracts so much attention from floats that my dad has caught things that people clearly did not intend to throw (such as a bead specifically made for krewe members only).

There was almost a scuffle this year at Mardi Gras when another weirdo came out onto the parade route carrying a mannequin leg. Some words were exchanged, but ultimately they set up shop further down the block. Personally, I would have liked to see an American Gladiator style throw down with the legs used as props. 

So, that fateful night in 2006, my family became even weirder as we added another limb to our family tree (second worst pun?) and brought Poydras into the home she always deserved.

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