Donald Trump is still?— still!?— dominating our country’s political conversation, but here in Louisiana, it seems as if fatigue has finally set in. Consider how Carnival political satire has evolved since the once and wanna-be future president burst on the scene.
For a few years there, it felt like every punchline was about Trump, whose behavior was and remains epically worthy of ridicule. Now, while he puts in the occasional cameo on floats created by New Orleans’ more sardonic krewes, the mood is largely been there, skewered that.
It helps that there are some fresh targets in town.
Governors are usually ripe for the picking; think about Bobby Jindal’s desperate quest to become president and Edwin Edwards’ various and assorted transgressions. But John Bel Edwards, what with his military bearing and, well, normalcy, was pretty much a bust for float artists.?
Gov. Jeff Landry, with his Cajun drawl and in-your-face conservativism, promises a new satirical boom. Krewe du Vieux started the season off last month with a float titled “Airing Dirty Landry.” The Knights of Chaos, who chose the theme “Chaos has Balls” (yes, plural), followed up Thursday with “Boudin Ball,” a nod to Landry’s regional roots and also his affinity for the oil and gas industry. “Drill Cher Drill,” it read on the side.
New New Orleans Police Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick made an appearance on Chaos’ “Blue Balls” float, which was actually mostly about the state of the NOPD she inherited and her boss LaToya Cantrell’s foibles. Consider it a hospitable welcome to the former Oakland, California, and Spokane, Washington chief. If she makes a float next year, the intent might not be quite so friendly.
Elsewhere, the collective age of our country’s political class was a hot topic, inspiring Chaos’ “Mothballs” (with President Joe Biden falling off his bike) and Le Krewe d’Etat’s “Ancient Mariners,” part of its “d’Etat Rocks the Boat” parade that rolled Friday night.
The U.S. Supreme Court got its due as well, although these two parades had starkly different takes.
The Krewe of Muses — full disclosure, my krewe — based its “Buy-You Boogaloo” float in its festival-themed “Muse-a-Palooza” Thursday parade on serious ethical questions surrounding Justice Clarence Thomas and some of his peers. Listed on the "Pay to Play Production" music schedule are bands such as “Counting Harland Crows”?— a reference to Thomas' inappropriately generous benefactor?— and “Abuse of Power Station.”
D’Etat stuck with the court’s hard tack to the right, depicting Thomas surfing the “Red Tide.” Roe v. Wade indeed.
Speaking of gender politics, the all-female Muses also had a float called “Renaissance Unfaire,” highlighting not just the loss of “ye olde reproductive rights' but also the persistence of “ye olde wage gap.” Up front is a woman in a stockade with a sign identifying her crime: “Spoketh her mind.”
Scandal-plagued president's son Hunter Biden took some fire as well, on the Muses float “Rich-Boy Fest” along with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and on “Sponge Son No Pants” in d’Etat.
Look it up. I did.?
And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign may have gone under, but he still qualified for his own d’Etat float, the “No Woke Zone.”
All this said, a few of our politicians remain perennial targets.?
The sorry state of New Orleans under Cantrell inspired several floats, including d’Etat’s “Teedytanic” and “Sinking Ship,” and Chaos’ “Wrecking Ball,” which depicted Cantrell going full Miley Cyrus. There was also "Air Ball," about the comically inept attempt to recall her.?
John Kennedy remains in the regular rotation too. Krewe du Vieux suggested that perhaps the U.S. senator’s constant wisecracks aren’t so wise on its “If I Only had a Brane” float. Pro tip: Kennedy does have one, or so the degrees from Vanderbilt, the University and Virginia and Oxford would suggest.
In fact, it’s all a well-honed if pretty tired act, one that the Muses called out in a float that can’t be named in a family newspaper but is a take-off on the running of the bulls. No jokes here; every word on the float is something Kennedy actually said, whether he was opining on drinking weed killer or describing dog pee.
And since Trump's still around, might as well list a couple of floats depicting the former guy's extensive legal woes: “Ball and Chain” from Chaos and d’Etat’s “Walk the Plank.”
By the time float designers start putting together next year’s parades, at least we should know whether he's gonna sink or swim.