Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The MAX Band

Our first post-storm Mardi Gras, like everything else these days, is shaping up to be a confusing mix of "just like old times" and "huh, that's kind of weird." This weekend we saw our first parades. The schedule was a slightly different from other years. Saturday there were five parades scheduled back to back. I thought, "Five parades? This is going to be huge." But the day was a little chilly. Then the parades rolled by. Each was only a few floats with one or two anemic school bands sprinkled in. All in all, it added up to one not particularly good parade on a normal year. This seemed like an ominous start.

Sunday, Louise and I went to the parades again. As we approached St. Charles and Napoleon, we heard the drums start to roll. And they weren't the limp, half-hearted tappings of the day before. They were thundering and precise. Then, as the band rounded the corner, the horns blasted their opening fanfare. My heart started pounding. "That must be the MAX band." I picked up Louise, and we frantically ran the last two blocks to catch them.

The MAX band is a perfect example of the sort of improvisation people have resorted to in the wake of the storm to keep life going. The city's school population is decimated and so are its school bands, but three schools, St. Mary's, St. Augustine, and Xavier Prep have consolidated into one campus. And their bands, three of the best in town, have consolidated as well. Boys and girls who studied separately and marched separately are now in one big, co-ed jumble. The uniforms aren't fancy, but that's alright. The band is huge and they're fantastic: the drum majors, the horns, the drums, the pom pom and flag girls. Perfect. I'm going to schedule my whole Mardi Gras around seeing them play.


  1. From what I saw on the ParadeCam, the Krewe of Carrollton really deserves credit for putting together a "real parade". 24 floats, about 8 bands (including MAX), and lots of blue.

  2. Absolutely. Saturday, seemed to be a grab bag of everyone who couldn't quite get it together, and I'm not going to take it as an indicator of things to come. Sunday was the real deal (even though Bards of Bohemia apparently cancelled at the last minutes - the word on the street was something about "insurance issues").

  3. Anonymous8:22 PM

    That's great! It gives one hope.