Feb 18, 201310:55 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
Carnival vs. the Newhouses
Not even Ray Nagin could compete with the Newhouses for the number of times their treatment of The Times-Picayune was satirized during Carnival. Beginning with the Krewe du Vieux and throughout the season, the diminishing of the T-P was a subject for people who, though angry as citizens, found something to laugh at as revelers.
Steve Newhouse himself was on display on Le Krewe d’Etat’s float entitled “Gone with the Wind” as part of the theme “The Dictator's Library.” Borrowing from Newhouse's infamous “when the noise stops” statement he is pictured saying, “Frankly, my dear New Orleans. I don’t give a damn.” While the T-P tower is shown aflame, new T-P publisher Rick Mathews is greeted with a sign saying “Ricky Go Home.” One notable little touch is a serving of crawfish and a beer spread across an iPad. To the side former T-P publisher Ashton Phelps has his arms raised in apparent helplessness while saying “sorry gang.”
“Chaos goes Overboard” was the theme of the Knights of Chaos parade. One float, entitled “Abandon Ship” showed the Times-Picayune tower as a crow’s nest. A prominent roll of toilet paper had the message “Roll With the Times."
Many maskers picked up the theme including one picture here with his own version of “The Some Times-Picayune.”
One column of the mock post-Mardi Gras edition has the headline “Landrieu Orders Mandatory Evacuation” while another column says “You Should Have Evacuated Yesterday.”
A recurring phrase was “The Some Times-Picayune” including on bags of a group of delivery boys without much to do.
What the Newhouses have done to New Orleans has even had its impact on Carnival tradition. Because there is no longer a Monday or Tuesday T-P, the announcement of the identity of Rex and his Queen was advanced to Sunday rather than the traditional Mardi Gras edition. The city’s reigning daily, The Advocate, also had the Rex photos, as well as Zulu royalty, atop its Sunday front page.
This was The Advocate's first Mardi Gras as the city’s daily and it did a commendable job, being where it had to be and arriving on doorsteps each morning. Hey Newhouses, whether they are masked or not, folks want their newspaper all the time, not sometimes.
Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival-Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via email at email@example.com or (504) 895-2266.
WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7 P.M., REPEATED AT 11:30 P.M.WYES-TV, CH. 12.