By Angus Lind, Staff Writer for Times-Picayune



         “You can’t stop me, you can only hope to contain me,” said a tired but contented Deep Float. “So far no one has done either. It’s been my most gratifying Carnival effort in years.”

         The famed covert Carnival espionage agent, wearing the smirk of someone who had cracked the code one more time, took a pull on his longneck, then yanked some papers out of his trenchcoat and threw them on the bar.

         “Le Krewe d’Etat is tough,” Float told me. “More than any organization, it’s the one you want to infiltrate because their satire is so biting and their floats so colorful. It’s a great package. Unfortunately, they have become computerized so their theme is hidden away in a secret desk unknown to anyone except The Dictator and The Keeper of the Bones.”

         “So how did you get it?”

         “Being clairvoyant helps,” he said. “But as usual, being on top of things, this year I hired a top-flight hacker, which was appropriate because the krewe’s theme this year is ‘d’’ It’s become a high tech world and it’s not at all surprising d’Etat would go that way, as avant garde as it is. But even when you get the secrets there is still much to overcome.”

         “Like what?”

         “I was confronted by their High Priest. He warned that a pox would be cast over my house and a fatal virus would attack my computer if these secrets were revealed before Vendredi Gras.”

         “What is that?”

         “Loosely translated, ‘Vendredi’ means ‘Friday.’ Very loosely translated, it means “when ready.” Since d’Etat rolls tonight on Fat Friday, I assume neither the pox or the virus will  materialize.”

         “Enough kudos for yourself. What have you got?”

         “Check these printouts. These are wicked websites, posing as floats. This one, for example, is ‘’ It appears to detail the ongoing edukashun (CQ) problem for our area schools.”

         “What is that bulky machine on it with all the sprockets and springs and gears? It looks like something that Dr. Momus Alexander Morgus might have invented in his laboratory over the old ice house in the French Quarter.”

         “Indeed it does,” said Float. “It’s a high tech mental (CQ) detector. Look at the gauge. It goes from 000 to 2. Frightening, isn’t it?”

         “What would this be? It looks to be something like a Dracula figure.”

         “You’re close. It’s ‘’ Here’s the message: Had a heart attack? We can probably work you in sometime in the next two months. Sure, we care, we really do, as long as we keep costs down and premiums up. It’s the American way.”

         “The face on this one looks remarkably like former Congressman Cleo Fields. Could it be?” I asked Float.

         “As the ex-congressman might say, ‘It ain’t nobody’s business,’” said Float. “I can’t say that it is and I can’t say that it isn’t. But the title of this one is ‘’ You decide.”

         “This one appears to be an oversized tire coming apart. Is it what I think?”

         “Yes, it is. It has to do with intentionally foisting substandard products on an unknowing public. It’s got a nifty title: ‘Where the Rubber Meets the’ But don’t worry, just like the HMOs, they really care and they’re really sorry. Of course, it has nothing to do with profit.”

          What is so unusual about this organization, said Float, is that there is no king, no queen and no ball. But there is a dictator, to whom all swear allegiance and instead of a ball there is what they refer to as “The Revolution.” The Revolution, however, is allegorical, in that the krewe revolts against or opposes renting floats to out-of-towners or any commercialism. It has no use for corporate sponsorships, riders without masks or monotonous dance groups.

They are totally dedicated to making Carnival the way it was, which is why the wily Henri Schindler is the resident creative genius of d’Etat.

         So it might not be at all surprising, said Float, to find d’Etat mocking parades in the outer parishes. “I would keep my eyes peeled near the end of the parade,” he said. “I was told there was something ‘for all you little Hawts out dere.’ Now I can’t swear to this, because it is beyond double secret, but I think . . . uh, I’d better not say.”

         “What do you mean, you’d better not say -- did you sell out or something?”

         “No way. I think you might see an unusual and somewhat risque dance group known as the ‘Dictator’s Dawlins’ with a couple of huge boom boxes on top of a truck. They’ll be doing some very special routines. You know, the motto of d’Etat is ‘Vehite ut Vivitas. Vivite ut Vehitas,’ or ‘Ride to Live. Live to Ride.’ The dancers motto is ‘Dance to Live. Live to Dance.’”

         “So what’s the big deal?”

         “They might be in drag,” said Float. “You never know with this crowd. You might even be hearing ‘Who Let the Dogs Out.’ I know this – the title of the float behind the dancers is ‘ And there’s a message on the side of the float.”

         “Which says?”

         “Your logo here.”

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