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|The tropically themed Mondo Kayo
Social & Marching Club operates on the premise that New Orleans is
the northernmost banana republic (motto: "May Your
Banana Trees Never Freeze"). On Mardi Gras,
accompanied by a booming stereo system that's
incorporated into a bicycle-powered contraption called
the Maxi Taxi, they gambol to an eclectic mix of recorded
fare, including Soukous, Zouk, Compass and Soca. They
also play exoticamusic intended to evoke exotic
jungles and tropical paradises, such as the jingle from
the Chiquita banana TV commercial circa 1947.
When the gonzo troupe arrives at Gallier Hall on St. Charles Ave., they greet city dignitaries, expressing thanks "for all the rain and sunshine you have brought to our gardens to make our banana trees prosper." A "basket of tropical abundance" full of bananas painted gold is then presented ("Viva our banana republic!"). The banana "float" in this panorama was introduced into the procession by revelers affiliated with the Krewe of Mystic Orphans & Misfits, whose queen is known as Inertia. A few years ago, making her grand entrance at the krewe's annual bash, M.O.M.s Ball, she rolled in atop the banana.