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The Official Dj Digital Mardi Gras 2011 Timeline

Mardi Gras 2011 was amazing. From New Orleans to Lafayette I walked a lot, talked a lot and saw a lot. From the Friday before Mardi Gras to the official Fat Tuesday holiday I did my best to document my travels with sight and sound. With numerous DJ gigs, parades, not a lot of sleep and an iPhone I present to you,

The Official Dj Digital Mardi Gras 2011 Timeline

Friday, March 4, 2011

  • 9:27pm – My Mardi Gras weekend started off with a quick drive 2 hours east of Lafayette to a little city called New Orleans for an evening of debauchery on the ‘Balcony Of Boom.’
Balcony Of Boom

For those of you who know the area I took Hwy 90 “the back way” instead of fighting I-10 because I knew everyone and their baby’s-mama’s-cousins were trying to get to New Orleans for the weekend and I already saw people posting about it taking them 7 hours to get there (which is normally a 2 hour trek.) Not having it. The trip took me about 2.5 hours which put me just past midnight and into the city early Saturday morning.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

  • 12:19am – Before I continue, allow me to give you a word of advice. If you drive a car with any type of value and you don’t consider it to be a “beater”, you probably should always opt for secure paid parking in New Orleans. Not just FOR Mardi Gras, but ESPECIALLY during Mardi Gras. Just trust me on that one. So, once I securely park in one of the $30 dollar lots (standard pricing during MG) I still have to hustle a few blocks to Bourbon St. where my first gig is located. The Funky 544 Rhythm & Blues club to be exact. I make it down to Bourbon and wade through the shoulder to shoulder crowd and on that short walk I saw things that would definitely make a nun’s jaw drop. Let’s just say “Mardi Gras was officially on and poppin’ in New Orleans !!!
  • 12:34am – I finally make my way up and the ‘Balcony of Boom’ party is already crackin’ ! Fellow DJ / best friend Dj Kemistry was on the turntables. He had been on since 10p and definitely needed relief so I hopped on immediately and just keep rockin’ the party that he had already started.
Dj Kemistry (left) & Dj Digital (right) at Balcony of Boom on Bourbon St. at 544 Funky Rhythm & Blues Club
  • 1:27am – After a solid hour of back to back hits for a crowd that was definitely in the MG spirit, in walks Grammy Award Winning DJ Spin, which meant two things; It was his turn to throw down .. and now I could get my Mardi Gras party started …. on a Bourbon St. balcony no less !!! This was a great start to what was going to be an insane weekend.
Dj Spin rocks the Balcony of Boom at The Funky 544 Rhythm & Blues Club on Bourbon St.
  • 4:26am – After rockin’ back & forth on the turntables for a few hours the party was starting to wind down and all three of us were ready to pack it up and call it a night. We all had big daytime gigs the next day and at least “some” sleep would be required. On a random note, super-producer/ Dave Nada showed up at random to the party. He was in town for a show that night-along with Dj’s Brice Nice & Musa (Rhythm Killers) & Portland’s Beyondadoubt (you should really check them all out.)
Left to Right: Dj Spin, Dj Digital, Dj Kemistry
Left to Right: Brice Nice, Dave Nada, Musa
  • 5:19am – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • 11:47am – I wake up to the sound of rain. A LOT of it. I was supposed to play a daytime gig with Better Than Ezra in the French Quarter but due to the weather a lot of things were cancelled, postponed and pushed back. My gig was one of them. I was seeing on Facebook that things were really bad in Acadia parish. Tornadoes had devastated some areas and many were hurt and injured. There was also a fatality. This was sad news. I almost felt bad that I was in New Orleans having a good time, and just miles away back home people were suffering from this tragedy. Such bad timing for such bad weather. So unfortunate for those affected and their families. On top of this, the water was rising outside of where I was staying for the weekend and I was getting nervous !!!
Water and car interiors don't mix ... at all.
  • 2:08pm - Food. A necessity. I endured the rivers in the streets to grab a bite and stop by one of my favorite places in the Big Easy. The New Orleans location of Sneaker Politics-a premium sneaker boutique with plenty of cutting edge independent & upcoming brands. Dj Kemistry runs the NOLA location with help from Dj Jive & Dj Spin, so I feel right at home everytime I stop by. Since everything in NOLA was on hold because of the weather, it was a great place to kick it and pass the time. Scope the pics in the gallery below and be sure to pay them a visit if you are in New Orleans. (or the original Politics location right here in Lafayette.)
  • 7:24pm – A quick trip to one of my favorite places. Guitar Center. Basically this store is a dj/producer/musicians heaven. Tons of instruments, tons of gear, tons of “stuff.” It’s very easy to get lost for hours playing on all the “toys” on display and even easier to spend all of your money buying it all !!! Luckily, I’m seasoned in the “smart spending” department and I didn’t get too crazy but I walked out with a new pair of Novation Dicers (my previous set was ruined by an entire glass of white wine being unexpectedly poured into them by a tipsy club patron … hence the reason DJs hate requests from tipsy hot girls) … I also picked up a new USB microphone that allows me to record anything from anywhere with just the mic and my laptop … amazing, right ? Luckily I got out of there without buying more stuff.
Novation Dicer
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
  • 9:22pm – It’s time for the night to begin and all the weather has come and gone … sort of. It was still drizzling and the roads were still nasty, but along with the homies Dj Kemistry and Dj Jive it was time to hit the road and head back downtown. Since all of our day gigs were rained out, we had nothing to do until the next gig which was late night at Ampersand around 3 or 4am. So we had time to kill. What better way to kill time than an all out rave party ? We made a B-line to the CAC (Contemporary Arts Center) for Zoolu 17, one of the biggest parties of the year that always goes down on Mardi Gras weekend in New Orleans.
Zoolu 17 Flyer (front)
Zoolu 17 Flyer (back)
  • 10:23pm – After doing 35 laps around the city to find absolutely NO parking, we decided to pay to park (but at least it was directly across the street from the venue) and then managed to get someone to meet us at the door and skip the insane line. We were definitely interested in seeing Ghostland Observatory because they had an insane laser show accompanying their performance. Insane was an understatement. Check out the video (below) which features Dj Kemistry dancing like a school girl, Dj Jive (who looks just like what Justin Bieber is maturing into) and our booking manager Alan Ferran who is un-phased by anything, making him the coolest dude on the planet.

Ghostland Observatory @ CAC New Orleans, LA Mardi Gras 2011 from Dj Digital on Vimeo.

Mannie Fresh performing live at Zoolu 17
Party face !

Sunday, March 6, 2011

  • 3:04am – We were all raved out and ready to take it to our next destination. A late night DJ set at Ampersand, the official after-party of all Zoolu events that weekend and the hottest late night spot in town. When we got to the club Dj Beverly Skillz was already bangin’. There’s really nothing like the vibe of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. People just don’t wanna stop !!
Beverly Skillz rocking at Ampersand
  • 6:53am – Time flies when you’re having fun. It was time to bail after a long and awesome night. I had to try to sneak some sleep in because later on today I had a couple more gigs before it was time to head back to Lafayette ! I wasn’t done with New Orleans yet.
  • 7:34am – ZZZzzZZzZzZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • 12:46pm – Uh oh !! I kinda slept too late. I had an event to do for Captain Morgan from 2-5p which doesn’t seem like I would be late for with an hour to spare, but I was in Metairie and the gig was downtown on Canal St. right out front of Harrah’s. What would normally be a 10 minute drive, was actually going to take way longer because of a combination of traffic, and barricades. But, who doesn’t like a challenge … right ?
  • 1:33pm – I get downtown really quick, but once I’m there … the problem becomes parking. My mission: Get as close to the event as possible but also think of a clean exit strategy. (sometimes setting yourself up for a quick getaway is just as important as parking close.)
  • 1:54pm - Still driving. Still looking. Traffic on Poydras (the street that the Superdome is on) is ridiculous. Everyone is doing what I’m doing; looking for parking. I quickly call Alan my booking manager and explain my situation so that he could let the promoter know I was going to be a little late. I find out that the gig isn’t “technically” until 2:30 (Alan likes to make sure we get to places on time, so he sometimes will tell us earlier times so that even if we are late, we are still “on time” .. and this time, is a perfect example of why.)
  • 2:03pm – I’ve decided that I was as close as I was going to get, and now my mission was to fight the line of traffic to get to a parking lot or tower. Another problem that was becoming a bigger deal by the minute is that I was running out of gas !! (remember this part for later)
  • 2:20pm - I finally park. Luckily it was valet service at a hotel so I didn’t have to wait around. I grabbed my bag thinking, “Thank God this gig had all the gear required so that I only had to bring my laptop and vinyl!” I couldn’t imagine lugging 50lb turntables for blocks or even worse, having to make multiple trips ! I made my way through the parade route and down to Harrah’s to meet my point of contact. When I got there MoJEAUX was on stage. Usually I hear cover bands and they all sound the same, but while I was going through music in the trailer these guys were rocking it out. Check out their site.
  • 2:56pm – I don’t know what I was thinking but I definitely wore shorts and short sleeves and it was actually kinda cold. Not to mention, the wind coming off the river made it even colder and I DESPISE the cold. The point of contact came in the trailer and told me that I would be going on around 3:30pm or so. He also told me to play some of his brother’s mixes, which invited me to ask him who his brother was. He responded, “Dj 2nd Nature.” 2nd Nature is a pretty cool veteran DJ who has put in a lot of work for a long time, but I wasn’t gonna be playing his mixes that day lol. His brother was cool though.
  • 3:26pm - MoJEAUX was wrapping up and it was time to get on stage. I got set up in a jiffy and with all my luck I was set up side stage, without the back covering me from the wind. IT WAS COLD. lol. VERY COLD. Plus, I thought that my records were gonna fly off of the turntables and roll down Canal St. What was kind of awesome and dumb at the same time was that I didn’t really have to “play” much. See, what ended up happening was Captain Morgan was introducing Marisa Miller, this mega awesome hot Victoria’s Secret Angel supermodel, and teaching the “Captain Morgan Pose” to the crowd while throwing out tons of shirts and beads and these nifty Captain Morgan hats. People love free stuff. Sometimes more than money, food or air. I even shot a video of the madness.

The Lone Bead Ranger @ Mardi Gras 2011 from Dj Digital on Vimeo.

  • 4:30pm – The Captain Morgan gig was wrapping up, and I was FREEZING. I got a hot coffee in the midst of all the action, but it wasn’t enough. To make matters worse … the parade had already started rolling, so my new dilemma was “how will I get back across to get to my car?” — I was determined. (and let’s not forget, when I get back to my car, it has no gas.) But, it was time to say bye bye to the Captain Morgan prize hogs !!!
Captain Morgan throwing a TON of stuff to people
  • 4:47pm - I packed up and made my way down to the parade and if you have ever been to a New Orleans parade, they literally roll forever. But, one should expect nothing less when in NOLA for Mardi Gras. At this point though, that eternal parade was blocking me from getting across to my car, which I needed to exit the downtown area. I had a gig later that night with Questlove of The Roots at Maison on Frenchman for a Red Bull show. I needed rest. I needed to get tunes together. I NEEDED GAS !!! I also wanted to check out a Q&A session with Questlove at Eiffel Society but I was already too late, plus I REALLY had to go and I would be seeing Questo later on anyway.
Questlove New Orleans Info Session
  • 5:09pm – Finally I found a spot against the barricades where the police would open it up when there was a break in the parade. You can’t really complain about a wait when HUGE floats are passing you by throwing beads and anything else imaginable from the stash on board. BAM, there is a gap and the gates open up. I think I might have pushed down an old lady to get to the front. I was in such a hurry, and in no time, I made the walk of a couple blocks to where I left my car. I crank the engine… 4 MILES TILL EMPTY !!!!
  • 5:15pm – I consider myself to be a master of fuel conservation, so for the second time today, I accepted a challenge and made it my business to get fuel ASAP. There aren’t many gas stations in the Central Business District of New Orleans so I made a B-Line to the Exxon in Lee Circle. 3 miles til empty ! Luckily traffic was at a standstill, so it was kinda hard to burn gas when all I was doing was idling. LOL. This is one of my favorite gas stations in New Orleans, because once you’re done, you can pull right out onto the interstate and get going … plus it is in historic Lee Circle. There used to be a Shell station across the street but I don’t think it ever opened back up after Katrina.
Exxon Station in Lee Circle at the intersection of Howard Ave, St. Charles Ave & Andrew Higgins
  • 5:31pm – I felt bad, but I moved a barricade to get into the Exxon. There were workers manning the parking lot for people who were just parking in the lot to go and party. I made it. I got gas. And no one stopped me. After pumping gas, it was time to head back to the house for some freshening up before my last gig of the weekend in New Orleans, and probably the one I was looking most forward to.
  • 9:17pm – About a month ago, one of my good friends Scott Lopker with Red Bull casually asked if I’d like to open for Questlove. My answer: “Um, yes.” Questlove is one of my favorite musical influences. The guy is a genius. He is also a walking music encyclopedia making him a music nerd, just like me. He also happens to be the leader of my favorite band “The Roots”, who to this day still holds the best stage performance I’ve ever seen. So to say I was excited to not only be meeting him, but to be sharing the stage as well …. was nothing short of amazing.
Sharing the stage with Questlove along with Tony 5kratchere & Dj Platurn at this exclusive Red Bull Show
  • 10:02pm – Before I went any further, I had to break out the secret weapon. It was gonna be a long night .. so out came the magic potion.
5 hr Energy is the magic that keeps me going
  • 10:07pm - I pull up on Frenchman St. (which could possibly be my favorite part of New Orleans) which provides the perfect setting for this show. It was at Maison Penthouse located at 508 Frenchman, and if you’ve never heard of or been to Frenchman St. in New Orleans you should do yourself a huge favor and check it out next time you’re in the Big Easy. New Orleans Online describes Frenchman as:

….conveniently, only steps away from the French Quarter. Cross Esplanade Avenue at Decatur Street and you are there. Within that two-block stretch of Frenchmen Street you are likely to hear anything from jazz to Latin to blues to reggae . . . and just about everything in between.

No neon lights; only plain wooden signs to designate a dozen music clubs in the greatest concentration of live music venues outside the French Quarter. In all likelihood you wouldn’t even know it was there unless someone told you about it. But once you’ve been there you’ll want to hang out and enjoy it even more. Inside the clubs or outside on the street, you’ll hear some of the best live music produced anywhere in the city.

  • 10:14pm – Once inside I made my way up to the penthouse area of Maison and it though it was early, I could already feel that the night was going to be special. I noticed that the DJs who were also opening/closing had already set up and threw on a mix that was perfectly setting the tone with some classic tunes that were just funky enough to get your head nodding. Perfect. Time to grab a drink and soak up the atmosphere. I love being able to hang out in a room before I play, just to get a vibe .. and this vibe was a good one.
Early night vibe at Maison Penthouse on Frenchman
  • 10:29pm – Dj Platurn of The Oakland Faders Crew was in town and also on the bill for the night. This dude is one of the top DJs in the country and he put on a show with classics and he did it ALL on 45′s (if you are unfamiliar with the term click here and educate yourself) He was also one of the coolest cats I’ve met in the game. It never fails, the most talented DJs usually have the smallest egos and best attitudes. Not to mention this dude got the party jumping.
Dj Platurn (Oakland, CA) Look him up !!!
  • 10:57pm – Time for me to hop on. Platurn had the room warmed up with classics so I figured I’d switch things up and run through a few downtempo indie tracks and a little bit of nu-funk. The crowd that was there was definitely feeling it and I definitely had a good time playing. It feels good to play to a crowd who digs something different than “the norm”. I don’t normally do this, but just for this post, I’ll actually share my playlist because I had that much fun playing this set.
My playlist from the Questlove show at Maison 3/6/11
  • 11:33pm - Now that my set was done, up next was Tony Skratchere, an Acadiana transplant that made a move to the city a few years back. I can remember when I first started DJng around the late 90′s, Tony and his crew had been at it for quite some time. Responsible for bringing the DMC to New Orleans and so much more, Tony Skratchere is respected for staying true to his roots and also bringing the skills when it comes time to show and prove. He threw down a classic New Orleans bounce set laced with all the classics. Check out the video to see Tony Skratchere in action !

Tony 5kratchere @ Maison – New Orleans Mardi Gras 2011 from Dj Digital on Vimeo.

  • 11:52pm – While Tony was still playing I got the call from Scott Lopker with Red Bull to come over to meet Questlove, and also make sure he had everything he needed on the technical side of things. It was my pleasure to be the guy who made sure he was good to go! I followed Scott over to a green room type area of Maison and the first thing I see when I turn the corner is the signature “afro” of the one-and-only Questlove (afro-pick included!) I cracked a joke about him bringing us a plate lunch, being that I saw he missed out on the chance to hit up a BBQ at Kermit Ruffins’ place earlier in the day. What is cool about Questlove is that he admired and respected the local legendary musicians, like Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty and many more. I was pleased that the guy I always considered to be “the coolest” was just as cool in real life… if not cooler.
Surrounded by coolness. Questlove (to my right) Scott Lopker (to my left)

Monday, March 7, 2011

  • 12:03am – With the help of Dj Platurn and Tony Skratchere getting transitioned over to Questlove’s set up was a breeze. He has a non-traditional set up of two turntables on the left and his mixer on the right. (most DJs traditionally have two turntables with one to the right, and one to the left of the mixer.) I had seen this setup maybe once before in my DJ career, but I wasn’t criticizing it at all. I was ready to see Questlove !! And before you knew it he was dropping his first record .. and SUPER rare chilled out remix of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” – And with that record .. it had begun.
Questlove dropping his first record of the night at Maison - New Orleans
  • 12:46am – There was a point in his set where I saw more people into what Questo was doing rather than dancing and having a good time. There was a point where he got on the mic and told people it was OK to dance. He then reminded folks that if they wanted, he could play all the records they knew, or he could take them on a musical journey. He said something that speaks volumes about how a lot of other DJs feel, but I never heard it quite like he stated it. He said “Don’t let TV and Radio dictate what it’s ok to listen to.” … which made a lot of sense, and even though I work in radio, I can relate to. What he meant wasn’t a diss on radio and TV (he was playing classics, which means they WERE the big songs on the radio at some point in history) .. what he meant was it was OK to explore and appreciate music that wasn’t fed to you through radio and TV. From that point on Questlove had the crowd in the palm of his hand and proceeded to take the room on a trip through music history playing what would end up being one of the best sets I’ve ever heard or seen. The pics and video tell the story below !!!

Questlove @ Maison | ‘Red Bull On The Floor’ | New Orleans Mardi Gras 2011 from Dj Digital on Vimeo.

Questlove repping Politics
Questlove with Me and Dj Platurn looking on
The crowd was definitely feelin' it
The crowd was the student and Questlove was the musical master
From NOLA to The Bay; DJs Tony Skratchere (left) and Platurn (right)
Some of my best friends, Dj Kemistry (left), Damion Yancy (top center), Dj Jive (right), Scott Lopker (bottom center)
Questlove addressing the crowd with wit
  • 2:51am - There was a significant point in the night, and in Questlove’s set where the night went from awesome to historical … and this was when he dropped some brass music into his set. New Orleans is obviously known for it’s brass band sound and the influence of jazz in the city is inescapable. The terms jazz and New Orleans are almost synonymous. Add this all to the electric vibe that was happening and POW! – instant magic. Magic that even brought a tear to Questlove’s eye and made him instantly take to his twitter account to share what was happening.
Tweet from Questlove describing his set in New Orleans

He also went on to describe the moment by saying,

Last time a dj gig touched me like that was London 2007 year after Dilla died. No shame in tear shedding. No place appreciates music in an orgasmic way like you guys. Yall know when (talkin to the rest of the world) when I play Brass Music in my set normally? As of late I been gettin lukewarm reception & was about to drop that portion. Somethin told me to try it on nawlins & if it flies keep it in for another year. Psssh man, nawlins had a near demonic exorcist experience when I played that brass stuff. Made me shed a tear man. Real talk. Music still MOVES people! #nawlins!

The video below is the scene that Quest was describing.

Questlove Rockin’ A Brass Music Set @ Maison | ‘Red Bull On The Floor’ | New Orleans Mardi Gras 2011 from Dj Digital on Vimeo.

The crowd erupting to the brass band selections of Questlove's set .. EPIC!
  • 4:02am - Questlove had been playing for 4 hours and showed NO signs of stopping. People weren’t leaving. This was New Orleans. This was Mardi Gras. I was standing side-stage with Dj Kemistry and both of us were like kids in a candy shop. Normally we NEVER get to see other DJs because we are DJng … but we both knew this was a special moment and we were witnessing one of the best DJ sets we or New Orleans had ever seen. BUT … it hit me .. IT WAS 4AM AND I HAD TO BE ON AIR INSIDE THE MORNING SHOW IN 2 HOURS AND I WAS 2 HOURS AWAY FROM LAFAYETTE !!!!
  • 4:10am – As much as I wanted to stay, I had to haul tail back to Lafayette to be on air. I snatched my bag and in the coolest move he made all night, without turning from what he was doing, Questlove gave me the no-look high five which basically made my night. Guys like Questo don’t owe many people anything, so to get his respect was a big deal to me. The night couldn’t have been any more perfect. Seeing one of the best DJ sets of my life surrounded by my best friends in the greatest city on the face of the earth on it’s biggest holiday. Cloud Nine indeed. (and an added bonus as I headed out the door … there was a brass band downstairs JAMMIN … as if to play out the soundtrack to my night … only in New Orleans !) — time to make a B-Line … 2 hours west to Lafayette.
Brass Band downstairs at Maison to play out my exit ? Why not ?
  • 5:47am – As I roll in to Lafayette, I notice that the public parking in front of my house had been turned into a campground … fully equipped with a chained generator on FULL BLAST tied to the utility pole. I was in a MAD rush and didn’t have time to deal with it, but I DEFINITELY wasn’t gonna tolerate that when it was time to come back and sleep !!! MADNESS !!
???????????????????
  • 6:02am – On-Air inside the Hot Morning Playhouse … the Lundi Gras Edition. Most people were either off of work to get the festivities started, or anxious for the big party that lay ahead. I was still going on sleep from Saturday night, but alas, the city must be entertained !!! Luckily, I was still running with adrenaline from what I had just experienced. My day would be filled with prepping for Mardi Gras and meetings … but soon, I would have the chance to sleep. Soon. I definitely needed to get a nap in before my DJ set that night at The Office !!!
  • 10:03am - Home for a quick and much needed shower. WHOO. Second wind. Let’s go !
  • 3:53pm – The “WHOO” had ran out quickly along with my second wind. I didn’t know what wind I was on at this point, but regardless … sleep was a must.
  • 4:07pm - ZZZzzzzzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • 11:13pm – Lucky for me, Chris Reed was tag teaming with me at The Office for the big Lundi Gras celebration, so that allowed me to get a little more shut-eye. I wasn’t quite replenished but it was enough of a snooze to get me through the night til 2am. People were ready to party and we played to a packed house all night long … but 2am couldn’t come fast enough … because back to bed I needed to go.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

  • 2:46am – Remember the story earlier about the camper/Winnebago. As I walked home I could hear that generator from Jefferson St. Who in their RIGHT mind would just park a camper in front of a residence in a metered parking spot ?? According to my neighbor they had been there for 3 days prior to this night !!! Their parking spot wasn’t as much of a problem as the loud generator. I knew they wouldn’t like the outcome of the situation … especially at 3am, but if it was a battle between me and them on getting a good nights rest, they weren’t gonna out-sleep me on my turf. A quick call to the authorities and within minutes I heard the dying sound of the noise polluting generator coming to a halt. Sorry to ruin their Mardi Gras Downtown Campground plans, but lets make some sense here. LOL.
  • 8:14am – Up and at em’. Today was Mardi Gras and the party was at Rivals. My partner in crime for the day was Jobo from Planet Radio 105.1, our sister station at Townsquare Media. All of our stations were posting up at Rivals on the corner of Johnston & Jefferson. We were up on the balcony and smack dab in the middle of the parade route. We also had friends joining us from Brooklyn who were here for Mardi Gras for the first time. Today was gonna be as fun and as long as possible.
  • 10:12am – It’s time for the King’s Parade. The first parade that rolls on Mardi Gras kicking off the festivities. The party has already started and the balcony is ready to party. The day was a bit rainy and bleh, but it wasn’t stopping anyone from having a good time !
King's Parade kicking off the Mardi Gras festivities
  • 10:36am – I could already tell it would be a good day down below the balcony. (1.) There was a guy who looked EXACTLY like William H. Macy. (2.) There was the most determined reveler on the planet that let NO prize go unmanned. Luckily I got video of BOTH. This guy was an all-day favorite to watch from above on our balcony at Rivals. Securing a solid space on the corner of Jefferson & Johnston St. he was like a venus fly trap, devouring any trinkets and beads that came off of the numerous Lafayette Mardi Gras parade floats. Even when these items went beyond reach, no boundaries were enough to stop this determined prize monger. In his attempt to retrieve this NERF ball he almost decapitates William H. Macy.

Parade Reveler Stops At Nothing For Mardi Gras Treasures from Dj Digital on Vimeo.

  • 11:11am - Jobo & I were entering full-on party mode. Usually when this happens, things get out of hand. Which isn’t a bad thing. Here are a few pics from the party at Rivals!
Jobo (left) and I doing bad boy stuff
Photo by Ken Romero
  • 12:48pm – The next two parades (Mardi Gras Festival & Independent) run back to back, so it’s like one big mega-parade. The Independent parade was where our float was and Chris Reed & The Hot Crew along with all our sister stations were on board. He actually shot footage from his point of view that you can check out here.

But here’s how we saw it when they rolled by !!!

Townsquare Media float in the Independent Parade - Mardi Gras 2011
  • 3:33pm - So now the parades were done, but the party had just begun … we had to get food first, and unfortunately we lost a few in our crew along the way (they had been at it since like 9am !!!) We gathered the remaining troops and kept it moving downtown. Living downtown has it’s perks, like bathroom breaks and whatnot. We hit up a few different places including Greenroom where an impromptu second line was going on. In case you don’t know what a second line is … this video is probably the most entertaining way to learn.

  • 4:17pm – Later that night I had to DJ at The Office again. Along with Chris Reed we would be closing out Mardi Gras and this was my last gig of the holiday. When I saw the brass band playing in Greenroom for just a few people I thought to myself , “what if at 9pm when The Office was packed .. in would walk this brass band out of nowhere? .. how awesome would that be ?” I approached one of the members and found out they went by “The Soul Express Brass Band” and they were out of Opelousas, LA. I asked what it would take for them to come back around 9pm at The Office and I let them hash it out with the owner who I had already convinced that it would be a great idea. Usually a brass band will charge “per man” meaning per musician in the group so everyone would have a fair take from the gig. They worked it all out and I couldn’t wait… I knew it would be awesome, especially in Lafayette where you don’t see something like that very often.
  • 8:50pm – I was already tired and had been mixing for about 2 hours and we still had plenty time to go. The Office was just getting cranked up and people STILL weren’t ready to go home. It was that time, and I was pleased to get a break during our little surprise for the crowd. I slowly faded out of the music and just before the packed dancefloor could give me the “WTF” face …. from outside, in walks The Soul Express Brass Band … and see the video for yourself to see how people reacted !

Soul Express Brass Band @ The Office [Lafayette, LA] Mardi Gras 2011 from Dj Digital on Vimeo.

  • 9:30pm – Needless to say, people were satisfied and if anything they wanted to party harder !! Chris Reed had taken over and I could tell he was done (you will see proof later) We continued back and forth and wound down Mardi Gras in good fashion for all the people who just weren’t ready for it to end.
  • 1:10am – But as they say, all good things must come to an end and as we let that last song run out, it was official … Mardi Gras 2011 was done. Over. Complete. Until next year, it was time to sweep up the beads, clean up the cups and say goodbye to the the floats and barricades that come with the carnival season. Tomorrow was Ash Wednesday and the first day of lent. A total 180 from what we experienced over the last week. I was done. We were all “done.” As you read in my timeline, I had an amazing Mardi Gras and I thank you all for taking the time to read my experiences because I had a great time living and recapping them. The final picture I want to leave you all with is a picture that perfectly describes what Mardi Gras is with no words needed. I took this after we left the club, where Chris Reed and I bummed a ride from our newest member of the Hot Crew, Brad Striker. We basically forced him to tote us around even though he advised against the idea being that all he had was a pickup truck. This was the end result …
Digital (left), Chris Reed (SpaceCab center), Brad Striker (right)

Until next year ……

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