The Ruff Side of New Orleans

New Orleans is a city where dogs, and their owners, occupy a whole world of their own. It is a place where owners are required to submit vaccination and breed papers before being admitted to the publicly funded City Bark. It is a place where dogs wear collars with fleur de lis patterns on them. And naturally, it is a place where dogs and their owners have their own Mardi Gras Parade.

Hosted by the Krewe of Barkus (not to be confused with the historical Mardi Gras Krewe of Bacchus, named in honor of the Greek god of wine), I caught a glimpse of the dog-owning New Orleans elite. During Mardi Gras season (the two weeks preceding the big day) there are over 100 Mardi Gras parades, and Krewe of Barkus is one of them.

So I parked my bike in the French Quarter to catch some of the action. As did everyone else, complete with their folding chairs and six packs of beer. I too was prepared and brought a sun hat, a daiquiri, and friends. But I'll admit feeling a little underdressed compared to some of the other spectators.

But not to worry, because when it comes to fashion, I've learned that anything goes in this town.

And, though the spectators were entertaining enough, the floats were also good fun.

I'm not quite sure why, but a lot of the floats had a Broadway/Hollywood musical theme.

And some of the floats were just weird. Though, in the end maybe it was more about the dog owners rather than the dogs.

The day grew hot and after a couple of hours, we all grew a bit tired, include the stars of the event.

So I left the parade before it ended and returned home to my American Staffordshire Terrier, Milo. He sniffed and whined, making it clear that he knew where I had been. I felt a little guilty that I left him at home, but quite frankly, he's just not mature enough to experience what goes on in the French Quarter.

Kudos to Krewe de Barkus 2011. May you and your best friends enjoy dog years' worth of Mardi Gras to come.


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