Pitting Fox News (Not Political this Time)

Michael Y. Park is Fox’s correspondent covering Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Two of his comments from this article: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,186213,00.html

Mr. Park begins: “Mardi Gras in the Big Easy used to be best known for three things: beads, booze, and boobs.” This may be true if you get your travel information from “Girls Gone Wild” tapes. Actually, Mardi Gras is the culmination of the season of Epiphany in the Christian Church, and for 90% of the residents down here, it’s a family celebration of food, parties, parades, and fun, though not always in that order.

Mr. Park further cheapens Fox’s coverage (hard to do, I admit) of Mardi Gras by including these sentences: “Small children climbed up stepladders specially fitted with child seats so they could get a better position for bead catching. Below, parties of adults quaffed Bloody Marys and mimosas from thermoses. There weren’t any exposed breasts, but that might have had more to do with the rather chilly temperatures or the family-oriented nature of Thoth.” (Thoth is the name of a krewe [club] that puts on a parade and party.)

There weren’t any exposed breasts because decent people live here. Honestly, would he expect breast-baring at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? At the Fourth of July party at the Washington Mall? Would he judge the residents of the Florida coast based on the activities of visiting spring breakers?

Granted, New Orleans is a misunderstood place and Mardi Gras is one of the most misunderstood things about New Orleans. Yes, we like to have a good time down here, thank-you-very-much, but we’re not drunken flashing morons. Morons, perhaps, but not drunken flashing ones.

Thank you. I feel better now.

It may be a totally inaccurate perception, but I have to admit that New Orleans has a reputation for those things.

Perhaps this is silly of me, by the way, but I’m a little shocked that the guy said “boobs.” Come on, man, you’re writing the news! If you’re going to use that stupid, stupid lede, at least have the dignity to say breasts. My AP stylebook is stumped. I think they assumed nobody would ever consider writing “boobs” in an article.

No, this is true in general. Where do you think Girls Gone Wild got the idea? Do you think that the guy thought it all up himself?

Decent people have always lived there, and yet the breast-baring still happened in the past.

No, because those behaviors are not seen as expected behaviors in those places, except for Spring Break beaches which are notorious for excesses like that. You do realize that there are tourists who go to your fair city for the sole purpose of going nuts, don’t you? He wasn’t demeaning the residents of New Orleans, he was referring to the well-known tradition of boobs for beads. And don’t tell me it doesn’t happen.

No, not all, but some residents are, and some tourists are. That’s a fact.

I really don’t get what you’re upset about. He didn’t malign your city, and he didn’t say anything untrue. What’s the big deal?

In closing, I would like to point to two telling quotes that you left out of your OP:

It may be a totally inaccurate perception, but I have to admit that New Orleans has a reputation for those things.


It is a reputation based on what people from out of town do in a very geographically isolated part of our city. Any other year we’d just shrug and let the good times roll. We’re a bit sensitive to national media coverage this year due to Katrina.

Boobs is a more bawdy word. That’s what he was going for.

The Thoth parade, as well as most of the Mardi Gras parades and parties, is completely tame. Outside of the Quarter, I’ve never ever ever seen someone even hint at flashing a breast. In the Quarter, you do occasionally see them, but less so at the parades than at night, and they’re flashing for other partiers that are tossing the beads from hotel and club balconies on Bourbon. The flasher are also tourists, as very few locals go to the Quarter this time of year, although I understand that due to Katrina’s impact, there were many more this year. If the reporter wanted to see some boobies, he could have also just gone to one of the many strip clubs in the Quarter.

In other words, a small portion of people expose (usually a quick flash) their breasts, usually late at night, only in the French Quarter, and only during the final few days of Mardi Gras, and the vast majority (if not all) of them who do so are tourists.

Ivorybill is correct that the vast majority of the Mardi Gras celebration, and it’s more than just a couple of days of partying by the tourists, is wholesome in nature, and intentionally so. While I did enjoy them at times, most krewe parties actually border on the boring, and are more of an excuse to dress up and have families meet the families of other krewe members. Most of the parades are also little different from a St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc. parade in any city, other than the tossing of throws. The big deal is usually which parade or float in a parade had the best throws, not boobies.

New Orleans and Mardi Gras were on my “Must Do Someday” list. In light of the above information…why bother? :smiley:

I don’t have a cite for this, but based on personal experience, the breast baring is done by people from out of town, and is largely confined to the French Quarter, and parades with floats don’t go through the French Quarter. Predominantly it’s individuals flashing tits to get beads thrown by other individuals.

There’s just so much crap in the preceding paragraph Airman I don’t know where to start.

  1. Expected behavior? Excuse me, but name a public celebration in any city in America where it’s expected that women hike their shirts.

  2. Breast baring is not expected behavior in just about all of the city outside of a few blocks in the French Quarter.

  3. Yes, I’m very aware that people from away come here, get caught up in our more carefree atmosphere, and then behave like total idiots. It says much more about them than it does about us, but you’re living proof that people confuse the situation.

  4. That he suggested that the only two reasons my female friends and family in the part of town where families gather to celebrate did not lift their shirts were chilly temperature and the family-oriented parade is demeaning to us. As if the weather was just warmer and the parade a bit darker, it’d be just tits, tits, tits.

  5. Showing tits for beads does happen. See numbers one and two above, though. But to repeat in case you’re still unclear on the matter: it’s not us, and it happens mainly in the French Quarter, and then is largely confined to a few blocks there.

You must have missed the part where I pointed out that for about 90% of the local population, MG isn’t beads, tits, and booze.

Have 80% of your town flooded, 60% of your neighbors and friends dislocated, have the media constantly not presenting the real story, and you’d get to your last straw, too. I had hoped that this year we might get some accurate reporting about life in New Orleans. I got angry when, once again, a wonderful celebration gets misrepresented.

And on preview: coding obviously isn’t my strong suit today. Thanks, DMC for your input.

If that’s your thing, I’m sure you can find plenty to occupy yourself. Don’t let my feeble excuse for a rant dissuade you.

Um… Mardi Gras? :wink: (Well, at least I expect it.)

As an aside, I have only been to New Orleans once, for about three hours, driving through on a road trip to Florida. It happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, and we went through the French Quarter during the SPD parade. I managed to get flashed and get some beads. God Bless New Orleans!

Do you mind if I present you to the thread as living proof? In the Quarter, from out of town, for about three hours, got flashed, got beads. I didn’t say that a flash couldn’t be a beautiful thing - - just that it’s not miles and miles of tits and booze down here.

The problem is, after slamming down a few Hurricanes, it seems like miles and miles of tits and booze…

So, maybe I’m just especially thick today, but what I’m seeing here is an article about Mardi Gras that points out that it’s not all about naked debauchery… and the OP is pissed at the article because really, Mardi Gras isn’t all about naked debauchery.

Seriously, what’s the problem here?

Pissed may not be the right word. Peeved is a bit closer. Since Katrina hit we’ve endured a lot of mediocre press from the national media around here, and this was the last straw for me. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but the article left me with the impression that Mr. Park was surprised that he didn’t see any tits, that he is under the impression that the absence of tits was due to the weather or some other factor, or that the lack of tits was unique this year. My apologies for the confusion.

There’s always plenty of boobs at Mardi Gras, Michael Y. Park being a classic example :smiley:

Especially in this serious context, it sounds more childish and stupid than bawdy. But that’s his (and Fox’s) problem.

Perhaps any word in this context would sound stupid. Breasts? Too serious. Tits? Too Carlinesque. Boobs? Stupid. Knockers? Off-putting. The list could go on.

Perhaps he’d have been better served to leave breasts/boobs/tits completely out of the article. And since it appears that he never saw any, that would be appropriate.

‘Beads, booze, and boobs’ accurately describes my Mardi Gras trip to New Orleans a few years back. New Orleans has earned its reputation of ‘The Big Sleazy’ all on its own.

Fun town, but masses of people don’t exactly go there for the museums.

Okay, your holiness. Where did you go? The Garden District? Magazine Street? The D-Day Museum? Uptown? City Park? Our world class aquarium? Our world class zoo? The New Orleans Museum of Art? Tipitina’s? The Maple Leaf?

By your very statement I can accurately say that you didn’t set foot out of the French Quarter, and if you did, you didn’t stay long. Prove me wrong, but I bet you can’t.

Blessed art thou, Ivorybill. You are correct that I did not set foot outside of the French Quarter (that I am aware of). But come on, what is New Orleans best known for to most folks? Crazy, bare-assed drunken partying.

Tom: “Let’s go to New Orleans for Spring Break!”

Fred: “Excellent idea! We can look at gardens and a world class aquarium!”

Tom: “You’re uninvited!”

Besides, you should be grateful. I am from Detroit. Want our fair cities to trade reputations? :wink:

Actually, Ivorybill, I did see it. Once. On St. Charles at about 7th, during Bacchus – an insanely drunk woman, who was living in New Orleans but was from out of town, flashed several floats. But she did it very discreetly – went up to the floats, pulled up her shirt so that only the guy on the float she was flashing could see her tits (and, most of the time, take a photo) and then back beside us where even the families with kids around us probably hadn’t realized what was going on. I was shocked that she did it there; it’s my understanding from talking with some of the cops along the parade route that they’ll arrest you for flashing outside the Quarter, especially if there are kids present.

But that was the only time I ever saw it after going to dozens of parades over multiple years. I only wish I could be there this year; I really miss it. And I don’t drink or flash!