Mardi Gras Marching Bands

A pile of musicians.
A pile of musicians.

What a weird parade.

I never actually saw the Krewe of Pygmalion’s Mardi Gras parade roll. It started very late. I left the staging area and parade start location about 35-40 minutes after the scheduled start time and I never saw a float. Anywhere. Usually, the floats and krewe are lined up in about one of three places. Not last night.

I did get to see plenty of high school and college marching bands. I saw them roll into the area on their buses. I saw them stretch. I saw them practice. I saw them line up in preparation for the parade start. Luckily, for me, the bands are the best part of the parade. So I had a pretty good time taking their pictures.

And, it’s not to say that I didn’t see a parade roll with floats. Krewe. And beads. And other kinds of throws. I caught up to the Knights of Sparta’s parade when I reached my neighborhood. So, that was cool. I didn’t really try to make pictures there because I was trapped well behind the crowd who lined up along the curb and neutral ground where the streetcars run. That was also fine with me. I felt like I’d made a few good pictures while I was roaming around with all the bands. Besides, you know what Leroy Jethro Gibbs says. Family first.

The pictures. As I wrote, I never saw the floats. I have no idea where they were. There did seem to be an awfully lot of marching bands for what is normally a smallish parade. I’m not sure what I can tell you about these pictures. You know. Find the scene. See the picture. Take the picture. Pretty simple. I think.

I did see one detail that I’ve never noticed in the past. The high school bands get off of their buses ready to go. The only thing that might not be in place is their head-gear. They get off the bus. Get organized according to instrument. Stretch. And, start rehearsing.

Tulane University’s band hit the streets wearing their pants, shoes and what looks like a grocery apron. They do all their parade pre-prep and then get dressed. Their uniforms are rolled up in the hats on the street.

I think I had a pretty nice shoot considering only about half the parade showed up while I was there. Two nights in a row. Imagine that. Once again, my muses were there to push me along. And, the great thing… I’m walking between four and five miles a night. That’s in addition to my normal daily routine.

The bus.
The bus.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at or For a quick look at my work please go to

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