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Shoe Time!

Krewe of Muses 2011 Theme Revealed, and Behind the Scenes With the Women Who Make One of Carnival's Most Coveted Throws

Like the Greek goddesses they’re named for, the Krewe of Muses possess many attributes that make them stand out in the Carnival fold. There’s the negation of the classic Mardi Gras phrase, “Throw me something mister,” by virtue of their all-female membership. There’s the offbeat marching groups like the Camel Toe Lady Steppers, Pussyfooters, and the Krewe of Rolling Elvi. There’s the inclusion of a celebrity rider who doesn't derive their fame from glamour.

And, more than anything, there's the shoes.


The infamous, decorated high heeled shoe throws were initially inspired by the gorgeous Zulu coconuts, but in ten years they’ve grown to become equally as popular. The first ever high heel was created back in 2001, but the first shoe related throw was a shoe bead necklace. According to Muses lore, a police officer told a few members of the Krewe that a huge fight broke out at Bourbon Street Pub over the shoe bead necklace. The cop declared that night that the Krewe of Muses was going to be big, and the rest is history.


In order to gain more insight into the shoe-making process, NoDef recently paid a visit to the Glitterage. Nestled in an undisclosed location, the throw fabrication center is nestled in the garage of the krewe’s officer of floats and decorations. With the shoes in such high demand, the officer wished to remain anonymous, so as to keep a mob whose demands could be met only with glitter from forming outside her house.


The process has to begin early. The longer Carnival season the better so this year expect to have excellent shoes. The officer starts the glitter process as soon as her Christmas decorations are put away. Renaming her garage, the Glitterage, many Muses, as well as neighbors, come over to help create the shoes.


“We save shoes throughout the year to prepare for the season,” she said. “Every member does not do a shoe but those who do are limited to a maximum of 30.”


The Glitterage has tubs full of shoes ready to be glittered. Completing one shoe alone could take up to three days. The process of creating the shoe is not a cheap nor simple task. A pound of glitter can be $45, so the Muses try to not make any mistakes.


The shoes have been a major part of the parade since 2003. To codify the process of making them, the Muses created a glitterossary to describe the shoe production. It includes such terms as the “bagger” which means shoes that already done and ready to go; premature glitteration, which refers to re-glittering a shoe before it has fully dried; and shameless tosser, which is a shoe that a member is embarrassed they made. The shameless tosser is given to another Muses classic: the chuck and duck.


The Muses assembled at the Glitterage also gave rare insight for the rest of us into how to go about getting a shoe.


“I love signs to get my attention. It is so loud that you can’t hear someone screaming at you,” one member said.


Another member says: “I do not like when people yell at me to throw them something specific. I will not do it. I do not take requests.”



Theme Revealed

It won’t only be shoes that keep the masses on the main parade route dancing all night long. This year’s theme, “Dancing with the Muses” promises to make crowd interaction a sure thing. The floats will take after popular dances over the years such as the can-can, the tango, and the jitterbug - just to name a few.  In an unusual step for the Muses, men will get a concession with the pole dancing float.The parade will also feature a marching band for every float, which means more than 20 bands will be present.


Along with the getting down, Muses will seek to pay tribute to their Honorary Muse during the parade. Chosen every year since 2002, the special guest riders are local women who the Krewe feels inspire and contribute to the city in extraordinary ways.This year’s rider is Liz McCartney, the Director of Development and Co-Founder of St. Bernard Project. Her nonprofit organization rebuilds storm-damaged homes in St. Bernard and Orleans Parishes. McCartney will be riding with Pamela Johnson, whose house will be rebuilt by St. Bernard Project with funds raised by Muses.


The krewe is also hoping to a little South African magic can hit their parade. That giant swarm of bees that sounded like it was attacking fans at last year's World Cup - also known as vuvuzela horns - will make an appearance at the parade in the form of the Museuzela. Other unique throws include a poster depicting all of this year's floats, and light-up "magic balls" with the krewe's logo.


This year, the Muses also added another thing to be coveted that can be purchases before the parade even rolls. Muses and Dirty Coast partnered up and created a shirt that says, “Throw Me Something Sister!” Dirty Coast started selling the shirts last week and they have been selling very well.  $2 from shirt sales goes back to the Krewe in which they will use to help the community.



Muses weren’t always the most anticipated show before the superkrewes. Staci Rosenberg founded Krewe of Muses back in Mardi Gras 2000. After watching the Druids parade roll by and seeing how much fun they were having, she called up a few other women and asked if they would join a Krewe if she started one. They all said yes. The idea formed in March, had a meeting with the city in June, and then rolled the following February.



When the Krewe was first announced, they hoped for 250 members and ended up with 610. The Krewe has continued to grow with 875 riding members and 1100 members on the waiting list to ride. The members vary economically, socially, and racially.


Though the Muses are one of the biggest parades every Mardi Gras season, the Krewe also holds other event through out the year to benefit the community. The krewe holds a glitter show demo during Jazz Fest at the Folk Life Village, and frequently brings groups together to march in charity walks.

The Krewe of Muses will make their annual ride down St. Charles Ave. on Thursday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m. The parade starts at the corner of Jefferson Ave.and Magazine St.

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