So, the parades have started again. There was just one tonight–Ancient Druids–and they were following a new Uptown route, starting up at Jefferson and Magazine. I decided to hop on Rhoda and head up there to see the start. the weather report was bad today, predicting rain and hail, so the NOPD moved the parade start time up to 5:45 from 6:30. That meant the parade went off around, well, 6:30. The vibe was very different from that on Napolean, where parades traditionally line up, and from St. Charles. It felt more neighborly, probably because this used to be my neighborhood. Then the parade rolled, and it was like all the parades–marching bands, dancing girls, bead attacks. And then it was over. I lingered a bit and watched the clean up crew come through. This is a blurry picture, but everyone was moving so quickly. They’ve got this clean up down to a science. First, a truck goes through and wets down the street. Then men serving community service through Orleans Parish corrections pass with rakes, raking trash (that just moments before we were all screaming to have thrown our way) in to the middle. And finally, the giant street sweeping vacuums vacuum up broken beads, lost doubloons, cracked go-cups, and all the other trash we’ve just thrown in the streets. Flanking the vacuums are debris trucks, labeled as officially for disaster clean up. Mardi Gras is fun, and I love it, but it’s also true that I’ve rarely seen quite so much waste on so many scales. And we’ve barely even started.