Can you hear the sirens, the sound of barricades scraping the asphalt, the boom-boom of the bands? Can you feel the sting of beads hitting your face? Or worse, the peanuts? Can you taste the deliciousness of your first slightly warmed banana moonpie? (10 seconds in the microwave, that’s it!)

Oh sweet Mardi Gras, at last you are back, for I have missed you.

The first downtown parade rolls this weekend as the Conde Cavaliers hit the streets Friday, Jan. 30, and there’s no stopping until Fat Tuesday on Feb. 17. It’s officially time to make bad decisions, go into work repeatedly with a massive hangover, forget where you parked your car and all of the other wonderful things the Gras brings. But before we get to that, we have some Senior Bowl leftovers to gnosh on, as well as some other tasty vittles.

Senior Bowl sightings and tent hopping
So in the week leading up to the Senior Bowl, plenty of our local watering holes and restaurants reported large men in various NFL team attire but many of my spies — even the ones who watch a lot of football — were not exactly sure who these folks were. Hey, they have big staffs. (That’s what she said.) However, some of my spies did spot some familiar faces and reported back to your old gossip gal here.

Heroes Sports Bar is always a popular place, for you know people in sports, so accordingly we had several reports from there.

Bill O’Brien, head coach of the Houston Texans, came in for lunch one day and back for dinner. The spies said he was “a very nice guy” and was very complimentary to the staff about their service and the food.

Jay Gruden, head coach of the Washington Redskins also had lunch at Heroes. We hear he likes it HOT, as he apparently ordered a “big ass Blackened Chicken Salad with Jalapeno Ranch dressing.” I don’t know why it makes me giggle to know what kind of food they eat, but it does.

Conversation amongst the NFL guys, according to our eavesdropping spies, last week was dominated by the Packers heartbreaking collapse against the Seahawks in the Conference Championship game. What no mention of Tom Brady’s balls? Boozie would have loved to hear more about those, I mean, that issue.

My Callaghan’s spies said Rex Ryan, Sean Payton and bunch of Saints’ assistants made their usual stop in the OGD, as did “Mean Joe” Green.

And a spy at the Smoothie King in Midtown said he was behind several Saints coaches and assistants, as they all placed their orders. He said most of them ordered concoctions with names like “The Hulk” and “The Gladiator,” but at least one guy ordered the “Angel Food,” which prompted one fellow staffer to razz him a bit by saying, “Hey how’s your Angel Food?”

After some nasty weather late in the week, Senior Bowl Saturday turned out to be one of those absolutely glorious ones, which arguably only causes even more debauchery.

Tent city was packed. I’m told the Iberia Bank corporate tent village really brought it with the drinks and eats. And the Republic Parking and Wind Creek Casino tents had nice spreads as well.

But probably one of the most popular of the day was the Gulf Distributing/WNSP tent, which was so packed, a sheriff’s deputy was only letting people enter as others exited. I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard that about a tent at Senior Bowl. Pretty crazy!

The stadium was packed and the game and city looked beautiful on national TV.

After the game, people flocked to the “World’s Largest Senior Bowl Party” at Callaghan’s, which was packed.

Just another great week in the Port City.

So the good times are already rolling
A couple of weeks ago, the Sirens held their Mardi Gras ball at the Country Club of Mobile. Apparently a huge tradition was broken as one lady exclaimed, “Oh no. They didn’t have the bacon wrapped Waverly wafers this year.” First, no more Civic Center, now this! What is this city’s Carnival coming to? This aggression will not stand.

As the non-parading societies continued with their balls, I had spies at both the Neriedes and La Luna Servente galas and the talk of all of my spies was the amazing backdrops during the tableaus, both created I am told by the visionaries at Barrett Greer. The Neriedes ball at Fort Whiting had a “Grease” theme and I am told the ‘50s diner the Barrett Greer folks created was gorgeous, complete with a soda fountain and jukebox.

The La Luna Servente ball theme this year was “Paint the Town,” and I am told their backdrop at the Mobile Civic Center was a true work of art. The spies said they had a set comprised of black and white outlines of a city skyline. Different groups of the ladies were called out wearing different colors, and the Barrett Greer artists painted the backdrop live in the colors the different groups were wearing. Wow. Finally a tableau you actually want to sit through!

Honey, I swear that’s not what I meant!
It seems one husband made a poor decision on his wife’s Christmas gift this year, judging by an ad one spy noticed on our local Craiglist page.

The text of the ad read, “The Mrs and I have been wanting bicycles for a while to give us something to do and to help us get some exercise. I decided it would be a good idea to surprise the Mrs with bicycles for Christmas. HOLY COW did I mess up! I got the ‘are you calling me fat on Christmas?!’ routine. NOPE! Forget that noise. These bicycles have to go. What you get. 2 bicycles his & her’s (paid $400), 2 new helmets (paid $50), 2 new upgraded seats (paid $75). I also have the seats the bicycles came with if you want them. The first $200 gets it all. Call or text between 9am – 9pm.’

Ha! Good thing he didn’t give her a gift card to Jenny Craig or something!

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters. Maybe not.
We hear a lady walked into a local hardware recently and asked the clerk if he had anything to get rid of ghosts. We hear the clerk first confirmed she was indeed speaking of apparitions and she confirmed she was. So, eager to please his customer, he didn’t miss a beat and said, “Get some hot lime and a horseshoe … and be sure and have the lime blessed by a priest.” She thanked the clerk and said, “I knew y’all would have it, y’all got everything.”

No word on if the ghost is still giving her problems.

Well kids, it has been a busy week and it’s only gonna get busier. Just remember, whether rain or shine, dramatic or scandalous or some plain ol’ ball lovin’ (of all kinds), I will be there. Ciao!