If there was ever any question which public figure would dominate this year's Carnival season satire, it was put to rest with the very first parades. Of course, nobody was about to trump Trump.
You can't turn on a television, open a newspaper or glance at a smart phone these days without encountering news of President Donald Trump's latest initiative — or meltdown, depending on your point of view. And you couldn’t go to one of New Orleans' edgier parades this year without seeing Trump get skewered.
In Krewe d'Etat, he was depicted as King Kong, grabbing planes from the air while clinging to to the Washington Monument. In Krewe de Vieux, he was Jabba the Hutt, with the Statue of Liberty standing in for the enslaved Princess Leia. In the miniature 'tit Rex parade, he was a dinosaur astride the White House.
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In Muses — of which I am a member, in the interest of full disclosure — he was the Grinch-inspired "Grump who Stole Twitter," in line with the parade's overall Dr. Seuss theme, "Dr. Meuss on the Loose." Imagined Trump tweets covered the float's back.
"I am not a GRUMP!," one read. "I won the popular vote and the Electoral College! This parade must be backed by @CNN and the failing @NYTimes."
The tweets were fake but here's betting that last sentiment would be real. If this guy can't handle being skewered on "Saturday Night Live" or at the White House Correspondents' dinner, he'd despise Mardi Gras.
Trump's rise has so dominated the season that it often merited more than one float. Krewe d'Etat — or "Zoo d'etat," according to this year's theme — had a "Love Bugs" float featuring all the former "Never Trumpers" who have morphed into supporters. "Hey phony, how about a job," Mitt Romney is pictured asking.
And in place of Dr. Seuss characters Thing 1 and Thing 2, Muses offered Wife 1, Wife 2, and Wife 3.
"I think your White House is overrated. I prefer my home gold-plated," reads the poem, in Melania Trump's voice, on the float's back.
Nor did the losing side manage to duck mockery. Democrats were featured on d'Etat's "Out to Pasture" float and on the Knights of Chaos' "Down-Man Road," part of a parade in which all the floats were inspired by street names. Chaos also gave the Clintons their own skewering in its "Skid Row" float, and d'Etat pictured Hillary Clinton as the "former Queen Bee."
Other national stories popped up too. Chaos and d'Etat spoofed fake news with floats titled "Picayune Place" and "Bigfoot," respectively.
Muses' float on the transgender bathroom controversies, "Oh, the Places You Can't Go," was always going to be relevant, given that the parade came days after New Orleans hosted the NBA All-Star game relocated from Charlotte due to North Carolina's anti-gay House Bill 2. But it proved even more timely thanks to Trump's Wednesday reversal of former President Barack Obama's move to allow transgender public school students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity rather than the gender of their birth.
Locally, the topic of the year was Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni's sexting scandal. He was featured on Muses' "The Yennax" float, Chaos' "Desire Street," and d'Etat's "Preying Mantis."
There were floats aimed at the usual suspects, from the condition of the streets to Mayor Mitch Landrieu's management. In a sign of the times, both Muses and d'Etat produced floats based on the battle for market share between app-based ride hailing services and old-fashioned cabs, "The Uber Battle Blog" and "The Tortoise and the Hare."
And there were varying takes on the scene in Baton Rouge. D'Etat portrayed Gov. John Bel Edwards as "Chicken Little" for going on about the state's budget woes. Muses had Edwards as ringmaster on its "If I Ran the Circus" float, although the main art featured "Kenny Havard's Fatman Dances." Havard, of course, is the St. Francisville representative who drew fire from female colleagues for introducing a demeaning "joke amendment" to a serious bill aimed at reducing human trafficking among strippers.
One laugh came from an unexpected place. Bacchus usually plays it straight, and mostly did with this year's parade, dedicated to the Saints' 50th anniversary. But the float dedicated to archrival Atlanta Falcons, titled "Dirty Bird Gumbo," went for a chuckle, and it got one with a line made possible by Atlanta's painful Super Bowl collapse: Unlike the Saints, the Falcons are still "The Young & The Ringless."
Given how worked up President Donald Trump gets over being satirized on "Saturday Night Live…