Dear New Orleans: A Love Letter after Nyx

Dear New Orleans,

Thanks for showing up last night. But, of course, you would. It was the perfect weather to kick off the biggest weekend of Mardi Gras, weather I’d been praying for as a first-time rider. I wanted my first ride to be perfect. And it nearly was. Even after tragedy unfolded, it was nearly perfect. And, of course, you would settle for nothing less. New Orleans is nothing if not resilient and spirited.

I was on Float 23 and completely in awe of the crowd on Magazine. I didn’t know where to look or what to throw. It was surreal. I knew it would only get better when we turned onto Napoleon, and I couldn’t wait. But that didn’t happen. I was on 23, and the accident occurred at 21 shortly after we started. It was horrific and awful all the way around, especially for the woman and her friends and family, the crowd that witnessed, the first responders, and the riders of 21. I can’t imagine.

Still, you showed up, New Orleans.

When the news broke, I was inundated with texts and calls from loved ones who wanted to make sure I was safe. Thanks for checking on me, tribe. Once it became clear that we’d be standing still for a while, you walked from your spots on Napoleon to give me my long-anticipated experience of seeing my friends and family on the route. That meant the world to me. Thanks for always being the village I need.

This was the magic moment right here: seeing my boys who walked blocks from their spots to wave for me when we stalled.

As we sat stalled on Magazine with our lights out, no longer permitted to throw, you were there. We made multiple announcements that the parade was cancelled, but you didn’t move. You walked Magazine for us offering Popeye’s biscuits, water, champagne, and bathrooms. You offered condolences to our krewe. You didn’t let your disappointment show because the air was already so thick with emotion. Thanks for taking care of us, Magazine Street.

As the bands were dismissed and rerouted ahead of us, we sat in our positions and waited with no word on what would happen next, sick over the loss of life on what was to be a joyous Carnival night. You were there with us, NOPD. You were on your feet the entire time stopping at each rider to keep us informed and chit-chat. You extended your shift by hours with grace and a smile. If I couldn’t throw all my purses, I was glad to give what was left to y’all. Thanks for your dedication, officers.

When it was determined that we would roll back to our staging area, we sat down for the ride, but New Orleans was still standing. You knew we could throw nothing, but you stayed. You stood for us, cheering and waving and admiring our headdresses. When we saw you, we stood too. We rolled, not in the way we’d planned, but we rolled. I felt like a queen waving back to you at nearly midnight. I would have thrown you my best purses if I could have. Thank you for your support, NOLA.

At the end of it all, our krewe was stuck unloading never-opened throws packages. Because cars were not permitted in our float lot, we had to take only what we were willing to carry. So much was abandoned. But our Nxy sisters worked together to make the best of it. Thanks to our sisters with wagons and husbands who stepped up and offered to take anything extra. And thanks, yet again, to our village who sat in hours of traffic to get us home from the lot at two in the morning.

Thank you for your heart, New Orleans. You made my Mardi Gras dreams come true.

Love always,

A NOLA girl and Nyx Sister

 

Alyson Haggerty
Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their 8 and 5-year-old boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education and is now a full-time nursing student. In her hypothetical free time, Alyson would enjoy flipping furniture, writing, dancing, and painting. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Beautiful. I hope you all get to reschedule your parade this season. My cousin Glynn Boyd and his kids were honorary guest riders standing in the stead of his beautiful wife, the late Nancy Parker Boyd. Praying for the family of the lady who was involved in the tragedy. I was wondering if it would be possible to get the signature throw that was designed in honor of NPB, if there are some extras left over?

    • Thank you and wow. It was a pleasure to honor Nancy in any way we could. However, I am not sure about the special throws. Not all of us had them. I did not. This would be better directed to the Krewe of Nyx page.

  2. Alyson,
    So beautifully written! I was on Float 19 and it was also my first ride. We received the tragic news via a text. I was in disbelief and utter shock. We continued on and it was a surreal experience. The love from this city is amazing.I thank you for writing this, as we all felt devastated for the individual, for her family and friends a h

    • Surreal is the best way to put it for sure. It wasn’t the first ride I wanted, but it was special nonetheless. New Orleans is a crazy place, but we do get some things right.

  3. Our daughter’s first ride with any krewe. She was on No. 20, the last one that got through. Thank you for describing what happened to the rest of the floats (and their riders). Beautifully written. Deeply poignant. Ah, New Orleans! C’est chez nous!

    • Thank you for reading. I can’t imagine the feeling on the last float knowing what happened moments behind you. But one thing’s for sure: no one does post crisis like NOLA.

  4. No one could have said it better. My heart goes out to all of the sisters of Nyx. Also to the family of the decease. Sometimes tragedy brings strength. In our prayers

  5. Thank you Alyson ! Such a great message !
    This was my first ride & Pandora was my second – crossing off my senior citizen of 69yrs “Bucket List” – was on Float #13 & a little skeptical at first cause of my lucky is my number & after 3 changes to my float # in Pandora -got that same number again -OMG! What are the chances of that!
    My poor Float Lieutenant( Her name Alison too? had the aweful sick but medicined up in the wee hrs at urgent care! And her show still went on ! Just Luv your expression of thoughts of your experience!

    Something about my city N.O. I grew up in and it’s perservence & resilience in dealing with adversities to forge ahead –
    I unfortunately, got slammed in my face & neck w/beads (you always will have one bad spoiled apple adult cause they have a sick & mean spirited mind to retaliate when they didn’t get one of my beautiful works of art in their gross hands)
    But I did not let him steal my peace & joy that day! I regrouped & had experienced my fun inspire of everything the night gave me! Wasn’t easy but tomorrow was another day & my lil dog was at home I have to care for?
    And for the rest of us the show had to go on & finish for all the Orleaneans ,
    Family, Friends & our-of-town tourists that couldn’t wait to see us –
    We all had to in memory of sweet Nancy B & her family –
    The whole parade though my thoughts were always thinking of the unfortunate passing of our passionate parade goer!?
    I found out and informed the ladies -(my sister (from California-3rd yr )on one side & a West Jeff Nurse on other (1st timer)- when a parade goer lifted up her phone & handed to me to read – we all were in shock but all of us took a moment & regrouped to finish strong as best we could !
    At that point I then decided to save one of my beautiful 3D Hummingbird purses for the family of this passionate sweet lady who perished unfortunately trying to engage in her fun & Joy- However, the Lord wanted her to experience joy in heaven!
    When her husband expressed in his tv interview she had a love for second lining, I realized this is what my purpose was for by making those decorated mini umbrellas?
    And, my other Hummingbird purse I saved for Nancy Parker’s Family- I some how hope to give whenever the appropriate time or person I can give to ! I had expressed my desires to the Captain day of Pandora?
    As far as the NPB angel purse throws & others came in bead package, & or soft throws but I had bought extra (6 per bag)& not that reasonable either but so well worth it! These had to be purchased & I saved a few & would be happy to give this lil Joy to both families as a keepsake in memory of their lost love ones!❤️?
    There is always a great message in tradgedy & maybe it’s to be kind & giving to one another – like Ellen says?
    It would be so wonderful if she could be our (GM) Grand Marshall next year ?
    I may just redo next year “The Big 10 “-
    I may just put this on my 70th B-day bucket list??
    Have a blessed day?⚜️??❤️

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