The Story of the
2004 SSQQ Trip
to Mardi Gras!!
(Please note that this page contains references to nudity
as well as
a dozen pictures.
I don't believe a story of the real New Orleans Mardi Gras is complete without mention
of the everything that goes on.
However if this decision is offensive to any of our readers, you have my
You may skip this page and go straight to
Page Three of the stories by
Tuesday, February 24, was the date of this year's Mardi
Gras. Since we were stuck in Gulfport,
Mississippi, the first thing we had to do was take a bus trip over
to New Orleans. Our group met in front of the ship at 10
As you can see from the picture, the day was overcast.
Although it had rained heavily the day before, we were fortunate
to avoid anything tougher than a little morning mist. The
temperature was around 55. Most of us dressed for comfort.
However a couple people took the day a
little too seriously for my taste. I teased Tim and Marcia
several times for wearing these most excellent
I told them I didn't like anyone who went out of their way to
deliberately look cooler than the rest of us. Why couldn't
they dress boring like I did??
Now that I am calmer, they did look kind of cute, didn't they?
I think that hat really works for Tim.
The bus trip was blissfully quick. To our
surprise there was very little traffic.
The bus dropped us off at the Riverwalk pier on the Mississippi River.
It turned out that not only could our ship not get in to New
Orleans, another Royal Caribbean ship named the "Mariner" was unable to leave
either. This enormous vessel just sat there like a ghost
ship waiting for the M. River to reopen.
This group picture was
taken at the Riverwalk by George Sargent. George contributed
many of the wonderful pictures you will see on this page.
After our picture at the Riverwalk, our group
began to walk north up Julia Street. Eight blocks and twelve
minutes later, we were at the corner of Julia and Saint Charles
Street. We were amazed at how close the ship
terminal was to the action. And we were also excited to find we had
arrived just in time to watch a parade called "Rex". Crowds
lined both sides of the street 3 to 4 deep.
We moved along the sidewalk until we found a good opening to watch
The floats were amazing. Many of
them had a mythical theme from Greek and Egyptian mythology.
This was my first experience. I must say I was very
impressed at the pageantry. Not only were the
floats beautiful to look at, it seemed like there was a new
marching band coming down the street for every two floats.
I even saw a band from Texas A&M!
In particular, the crowd went into a frenzy when the LSU
marching band came by. Louisiana State won the national
football championship this year. To say the least, their
band was very popular!
Most of the bands featured fantastic
drummers. The ever-present pulsating drum beat made the parade ever more
exciting to watch. About this point we started to relax a
Like myself, most of us were first-time visitors to Mardi Gras.
We had heard all sorts of horror stories. We were on the
lookout for the so-called dregs of society: pickpockets, thugs,
drunks, perverts, transvestites, and streetwalkers. We
worried about vomiting drunks, urination in the streets, and puke
everywhere. We had been warned we might be walking ankle
deep in trash and human waste.
Plus we had been told the crowds got so thick and pushy that your
group or the person you were with could be swept away and lost.
All of us were concerned about getting separated from the group.
The humorous picture of the little boy
at right illustrates clearly that the fear of losing someone
wasn't all that far-fetched.
But now that we were here, Mardi Gras seemed like fun!
Maybe it was time to let down our guard a little. One by one most of
us made it over to a nearby margarita stand. We discovered a
wonderful by-product of ordering our drinks - we now had
permission to use their restroom whenever we needed to. I
don't know about the others, but this took a load off my mind.
I intended to keep drinking all day long if a trip to the restroom
was included in the price.
As we began to loosen up, we
discovered a game called "Catch the Beads". Again speaking
for myself, I had heard of the bead game, but had never quite
understood the attraction.
I watched with amusement as each float rolled by. From above
the crowd, masked and costumed riders constantly
flung beads to eager members of the crowd.
At first I gathered every bead in sight whether I caught it or
not. I found lots of beads on the ground. Let me add the margarita
helped fuel my enthusiasm.
I wasn't the only one caught up in bead
frenzy. Several of the ladies in the group became very
serious about bead collection. Each person had a
Becky Hauri and Judy Walsh developed a friendship with a local
lady who enjoyed sharing her excess beads with them.
As shown in the picture, Judy and Becky were soon awash in bead
I was a bottom-feeder. I was
universally teased for picking beads up off the ground. What
else was I supposed to do? For
one thing, no one was throwing any to me. I was standing
behind at least four people. No one could even see me.
Beads that missed their target were constantly landing on the
ground, so I swallowed my pride and went over and retrieved them.
Iqbal Nagji used a similar strategy to me, but with more
sophistication. Iqbal was excellent at retrieving overthrows. He
figured out that the bead throwers delighted in hitting far-off
targets. People were leaning out of second-story windows
above Iqbal pleading for beads to be thrown to them. However they
were tough targets to hit. Frequently beads would barely
miss their target and glance harmlessly off the wall. Iqbal caught
many of these near-misses on the fly before they even hit the
ground. Sometimes he even threw them back up to the
disappointed people in the windows above. I was stunned at
his generosity. Finders Keepers was my attitude! But
Iqbal was not quite as acquisitive as I was. I hate mature,
Eva Lue used an interesting "charity" approach. She told
all the local people that she was from the ship that had been
stranded in Gulfport. This made her something of a
celebrity. All sorts of local people felt sorry for Eva and
made sure she got a generous share
There was a group of ladies that were
getting very frustrated. Marla, Roz Weinstein (Marla's
sister in law from California), and Veronique Frizzell were
working hard to get the float crews to throw them beads,
but were getting nowhere. It turned out they were standing
right behind a busty woman who stood tall on a cooler shaking her
assets. Although Marla, Roz, and Veronique are very
attractive ladies, Miss Cleavage was more powerful than a
lighthouse in the fog. Our Texas Trio was practically
invisible standing behind her.
I suggested to the ladies that they move about ten yards to the
left where I had discovered an opening in the crowd. Now
they were upstream from Miss Cleavage. Also in the new spot
there was no one in front of them to distract the bead throwers.
From the moment we made this strategic
re-location, our ladies began to make serious bead headway.
Freed from the imposing shadow of Miss Cleavage, our
ladies began to flirt shamelessly. First they would make eye
contact with the "floaters", then once they had the
men's attention they would shake their hips, shimmy
their chests, blow kisses, and wave unabashedly. They
pleaded, they begged, and jumped up and down. Soon all three
ladies had far more
beads than they could handle.
I enjoyed their success thoroughly. I discovered I was an
excellent bead snagger. I caught many beads that were thrown
off-target to the three ladies and spent time draping the beads
over their necks. After a while, Marla in particular got so
loaded down she complained of neck ache. I guess there's a
price for success in every endeavor.
Finally after a couple hours of watching the parades and collecting
beads, the group decided it was time to move on. Just one
block from where we had been standing was an open area known as
Lafayette Park. It was here we decided to take a group picture.
Our group totaled 18 people.
George Sargent, Eva Lue, Gay Anseman, Veronique Frizzell, MG
Anseman in back, Martin Thomas, Marla Gorzynski, Rick Archer in
back, Diama Cortez, Judy Walsh in front, Merida Guzman, Becky
Hauri, Susan Arevalo, Imre Kondor in back, Roz Weinstein, Eileen
Konder in front, Larry Weinstein, and Iqbal Nagji.
You may notice everyone is heavily beaded now. We belong!!
As our group headed east on Camp Street towards
Canal Street, we began to see people wearing some of the most amazing
costumes. It looked like Halloween in broad daylight everywhere
In the picture at right, we met a group of super heroes including
Wonder Woman, the Joker, the Hulk, Batman, plus a couple more in back.
This group was a bunch of wholesome, well-covered clean-cut preppies.
But I noticed the further we walked,
the more interesting the outfits became.
Soon we ran into this bizarre threesome.
One woman was showing a lot more breast than Janet Jackson. You
might notice her
friend in the middle is a man dressed as a woman. Just a
friendly local transvestite.
All three had masks on. I wondered what these people do for a
living? Are they normally respectable pillars of the community?
I wondered if wearing the masks liberated them to reveal a different side
of their nature on this
15 minutes after we took our group picture in the
park, we arrived at Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is the epicenter of
Mardi Gras debauchery in Sin
This narrow street felt like a canyon. On either
side of us were towering three-story row houses complete with
balconies and bead throwers. For much of the day, Bourbon Street was full of
wall-to-wall people. It was very easy to feel claustrophobic in
such tight quarters.
I can easily see how it would be easy to get separated from the
group in such a situation, but fortunately we all managed to stick
It turned out that Bourbon Street was lined
with strip joints. I was pleased to note one of the first
strip clubs we passed was my side business, Rick's Cabaret.
There was a huge crowd and we could barely move. I looked up
at the balcony above and was astonished to see that some of their
pros were putting on a free show for the highly appreciative
Up till now, I had not seen anything worth looking at, but these
women were serious eye-candy.
As we slowly crept along, I observed that almost
all the lower balconies were lined with bead throwers and
Here the bead game turned more serious. Many
of the men on the balcony responded to any show of interest from a
woman down below with a gesture that indicated "show me your stuff".
Some used signs, some used sign language, and the guy in the picture
at right used a bull horn. At first I just laughed. What woman
in her right mind is going to bare her breasts for some cheap
Then to my utter incredulity, I watched open-mouthed as quite a
few women cooperated. Up went the shirt, down came the
beads. Amazing. Why doesn't this work in
The only logical conclusion I came to is that these women wanted to show
off their breasts. What other explanation could it be?
One lady in the crowd lifted her shirt for some beads. Several
photographers rushed over and asked her to do it again.
After three more exposures, I overheard her say to her
girlfriend, "Let's go. I'm tired of showing my boobs."
I also noticed that a high number of the exposed breasts such as
the lovely lady in the picture had been
augmented. My guess is that many of these women reveal their
breasts for a living. It seemed to me they were far too comfortable with
the show to be amateurs.
Another interesting phenomenon was the
occasional strip tease up on the balcony. Unlike the
professionals with the fake boobs back at Rick's Cabaret, there were quite a few
women who looked like they were doing it strictly for the fun of
One of the first things I noticed was that the amateurs usually
had real breasts. How refreshingly original!!
add that this lady was the proud owner of the only pair of real
breasts I enjoyed looking at all day?
For all of 5 seconds - then the shirt came back down. Thank
goodness for photography.
Did I mention nudity was everywhere?
If naked women and men was something you wanted to see, New
Orleans and Bourbon Street was ready to help.
One club had the doors so wide open that anyone in the crowd could
watch the strippers in action. Several men from our group
enjoyed the free public show while the women rolled their eyes in
Another club down the street featured live sex acts. Anyone
who wanted could peak in and watch. I passed on that one.
Any doubts that New Orleans deserved its bad reputation were long
Back on St. Charles Street during the
parade, Martin Thomas had thoughtfully acquired a set of
breasts for his very own. Martin has always had a Hugh
Grant roguishness about him, but today we saw a new side. His
audacity made him oddly popular all day long with the locals.
Several girls even offered to paint his breasts for him.
Martin reluctantly declined, but I could tell he was tempted.
I think he had a better time than he deserved considering how
much embarrassment he caused us. We of course pretended
not to know him.
Many of you may have heard the rumors and now I will confirm that
it is true - here at the studio we run a lucrative side business
in blackmail. However not all of my schemes work out.
All day long the various ladies in our group had been more than
slightly irritated at the obvious lust displayed by the men in our
group as one half-naked woman after another strode by.
For example, as I mentioned earlier eight of our guys stood in
front of the strip tease joint with the open door watching in
open-mouthed awe as gorgeous women casually would lift their
shirts for a peek, then quickly hide them again. Then there
were others who were completely naked and stayed that way.
Let's face it - men love to look at naked women. What else
would account for the success of clubs like these?
On the other hand, I can sympathize with the ladies in our group
and say that they had a legitimate beef. It couldn't have
been easy for them to retain much respect for our guys. We
often made fools of ourselves by desperately hustling to get a
better look at a strip tease act that randomly would appear out of
nowhere on the street in return for beads. And some of us would
put on sunglasses and watch out of the corner of our eyes, but I
doubt we fooled anyone.
Then came the moment when Susan Arevalo
spied one quite naked gentleman in the crowd. Susan
displayed impressive quickness at rounding up both the naked man
and George in one swoop to get a commemorative photograph.
As you can see, the gentleman in question was more than happy to
cooperate. Susan doesn't seem too unhappy either, now does
I asked Susan about the incident later on the ship. She said
she was so fed up and disgusted with the boys drooling and lusting
that she felt it was time for the girls to have a little fun too.
On the day before I was ready to publish this picture, I asked
Susan if she wanted to fork over some cash to suppress its
publication. To my utter shock, my thinly-veiled attempt at
blackmail failed. She blushed a little, then said, "Print
More bravery like that and I might have to get a real job.
It has been said that New Orleans has
the second largest Gay-Lesbian population in the USA after San
Although I noticed numerous people in attendance that were
probably gay, I never felt ill at ease. If anything, I liked
many of their costumes!
Everyone was having a great time. Isn't that all that
Laissez les bons temps rouler!!
As our group sauntered slowly down Bourbon
Street, I heard the sounds of blues music drifting from the open
window of a jazz bar. Without hesitation I grabbed Marla and
started to dance the Whip on the sidewalk right there next to the
Marla and I had way too much fun. The music was awesome and
we both really got into our dancing.
Marla's hips were moving every direction possible, capturing the
exact spirit of the Honky Tonk Woman. We were struttin' our
stuff on the street! Did I mention we were both a
Let me tell you something, once you have been slapped in the face
by a million Mardi Gras beads you quickly learn not to lead too
Other than the bead mishap, we danced our butts off. When the
music ended, we looked up to see a crowd of fifty people who had
gathered around were
clapping appreciatively. We were now certified members of
the street performer union! Too bad I forgot my tip
I couldn't let it stop there. I took Marla inside the bar. It was time to refuel anyway. Most of
the group came in and joined us. One drink later, we got out on
the floor and danced and danced to the live blues band.
I never sat out one
song for an hour and a half. The highlight of my evening came
when an attractive lady came up and whispered, "I don't know what
you've been taking, but I sure want some of it!"
It was the most fun I have had dancing in years. Whip was meant
for joints like this. It is a naughty, sexy, provocative dance
where the woman's hip action captures the spirit of the music
After the live jazz dancing, it was getting dark.
We were tired and hungry. The majority of us headed back for the
bus. We had had quite a day.
At midnight the police come out. This marks the official end of Mardi
Gras. We didn't quite last this long. We decided to
head back to the ship and start repenting early.
What Else Happened on the