Jun 18, 201306:17 AM
The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

Finding New Orleans' Nerds

“…because nerds like us are allowed to be un-ironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” - John Green


After I wrote my blog a few weeks ago about hipsters, I came to a sad conclusion. Not that everyone in the Bywater will soon be consumed by the gentrification zombies wanting to eat and profit from our brains. And holy crap, judging by the comments, hipsters sure do strike a nerve these days. (Seriously, I think they incite more anger than the NSA tapping our phones.) My conclusion was that after moving to New Orleans, I left behind a huge group of people that I miss terribly. My nerd friends.


I realized this after mentioning the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus Mardi Gras parade where kids dressed as jawas from Star Wars, thus learning at an early age that costuming is a big part of life here in the Big Easy. I also remembered thinking that the parade itself happened to be the one I had the most fun at during Carnival season. We even walked several blocks to be able to see it twice.


Yep, I'm a nerd. And as wookiees, storm troopers and Doctors 1 - 11 walked by and I got more and more excited, I realized that it just didn't have the same impact on my parade companions. Sure, they had a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, and they are nerds in their own right. (More music nerds than anything. And also a Harry Potter nut). But it's tough to get someone to go to a midnight showing with me here in New Orleans, if you know what I mean. Most of my fellow midnight-showing-levels-obsessed nerd friends are in other cities these days. So I've really been missing the excitement and all-around giddiness that comes with having friends and fandoms in common.


Sure, there are a few friends at work who watch "Game of Thrones" and we had fun dishing about the last couple episodes (OMG RED WEDDING, ROBB STARK OMG), but now that's it's over and "True Blood" has come back on, I'm back to being all alone in Sunday night television nerdom.


Sad face. :-(


So what did I do? I just went ahead and joined the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus even though Mardi Gras is months and months away.


I'm not kidding that it was my absolute favorite parade of Carnival season and I'll tell you why: Han Solo.


There were many Han Solos that night, but one in particular was strutting down the street in all of Han's classic arrogance so I took a chance and shouted, "Han! I love you!"


And he turned to me and yelled, "I know!"


He didn't miss a beat. I totally melted. I have a weakness for scruffy-looking nerf-herders. I even married one.


Also, a lovely jedi padawan handed me the best throw I've received from a Mardi Gras parade yet, a 3D Han Solo sticker. So much better than any cheap plastic beads made in China. And my second favorite throw? A coin that a Bilbo Baggins himself handed me for The Green Dragon Inn, good for one half-pint of ale.



Seriously, the clever hand-made Mardi Gras throws from parades like Chewbacchus and Krewe du Vieux, are the absolute best. They are far more awesome and bring far more excitement than all the bags full of beads from the "super krewes" that are only kept by tourists and people collecting them for next year.


So hopefully I can get back to my nerd roots by being involved in the krewe. I've also always wanted to join a krewe since I moved down here, but most are pretty impossible (and expensive) to get into. Not so with Chewbacchus. They seem to accept just about anyone (except unicorns and elves, naturally), in an all-inclusive nerd utopia and is very affordable to join. Sounds good to me.


I also spent a week painting Yoda for a Chewbacchus art show... Because Yoda spent quite a bit of time on a swamp planet known as Dagobah. It's not unlike our swamps here in Louisiana. Here he is in the "Dagobayou." Heh.



I am officially in nerd heaven, you guys. A New Orleans nerd heaven, at last.

Reader Comments:
Jun 18, 2013 12:19 pm
 Posted by  Billsd

There is a Dagobayou in St. Bernard Parish. It is north of Chalmette and is also known as the 40 Arpent Canal that is behind the levee (The fake Army Of Corps of Engineers levee designed to waste taxpayers's money and give a lethal sense being protected.) that defines the northern boundary of Chalmette. If you want to see it and maybe catch some fish you go down St. Claude/St. Bernard Highway to Paris Road. Turn right and go north to the fake levee. Dagobayou is just on the other side. There is plenty of gravel area so you can park and fish if you want. The dead, Corps of Engineers murdered, cypress tree stumps have mostly rotted away by now so the fishing is pretty good. Just beware of hardhead catfish. They are inedible and have a sharp spike/fin that will cut you and inject a toxic slime that will make you quite sick, not fatal but you wish you would die. You can get red snapper there which are actually better than the redfish of Cajun blackening fame. On the way, stop at Rocky and Carlos, a Chalmette institution on St. Bernard Highway a few blocks before you get to Paris Road. By far the best, and most generous, roast beef poor boys in the Universe. Their mac and cheese will make you want to slap your grandma. Don't forget to order the WOP salad. Calling an Italian a Dago or a Wop is considered a badge of honor "down in the Parish" which is why they call their signature salad a wop salad. Mmm wop salad, captcha ya heart.

Jun 18, 2013 12:27 pm
 Posted by  Billsd

OOPS! When I said turn right at Paris Road to go north to the 40 Arpent Canal, I meant turn LEFT at Paris Road. Turning right at Paris Road will take you to the Chalmette Ferry on the river. No fishing there. Interesting ride and I think it is still free. The best ferry ride in the New Orleans area is the Canal Street - Algiers Ferry that you can ride for free as a pedestrian. People ride it with something to eat and sit on the benches provided. It is a favorite place for New Orleanians for marriage proposals.

Jun 18, 2013 09:23 pm
 Posted by  AnnieD

Wow! Thank you so much, I had no idea there was a "dagobayou", but I'm not sure why I'm surprised ;-) Of course there is!

I will definitely check this out. Thanks again.


Jun 19, 2013 08:41 am
 Posted by  Party Elves of Mirkwood

Not to put too fine a point on things, but...this year Chewbacchus will have elves. :)

Welcome to the krewe!

Jun 19, 2013 10:12 pm
 Posted by  AnnieD


I'd also like to thank the Party Elves of Mirkwood for turning me on to the #party king thranduil tag on Tumblr. Wow, having a lot of fun right now, lol.


Jun 20, 2013 12:48 pm
 Posted by  Party Elves of Mirkwood

Annie - if you want to join a subkrewe instead of rolling as an independent agent we are always happy to have more dudebros in the court....

Anyway, yes, that whole Tumblr meme is pretty much my favorite thing on the internet! Always happy to share the crazy with like-minded folk :)

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The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy


Annie Drummond is a graphic designer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. She has a degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Two years ago she made the move from the Midwest to New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood and fell deeply in love as she discovered the rhythms and traditions of her new city. In addition to The Lighter Side, she writes about food, art and design (and other stuff) at www.AnniedelaDolce.com.




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