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Zulez Zu Coconutez Avec Moi, Cette Mardis Gras?


Today's counterproof: the touching story of some N'Awlins Coconuts and the Timely Intervention of a High Government Official [courtesy of Insurance Journal]:

One of the most prized traditions of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the handing of elaborately decorated coconuts to eager parade-watchers during the Zulu parade, is safe—at least this year.

Earlier this month, officers of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, heard their insurance premium was about to triple—and the coconuts were the reason because of the possibility they could hit someone.

To Gary Thornton, chairman of Zulu's governing board, parades without coconuts would have been sacrilege.

Fighting to save tradition—and money—Thornton and other Zulu leaders turned to Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley. Recently they were able to declare the crisis averted.

Not only did Wooley's intervention help the krewe catch a manageable premium increase—one-third more than last year—but coconuts will still be aboard the krewe's floats as Zulu rolls down St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras morning.

I am pleased particularly that not only a crisis but "sacrilege" has been averted by Louisiana's Commissioner ex machina.  Mustn't have sacrilege muddying things up during Mardi Gras, you know.  I am pleased as well to learn that the Zulus are engaging in a bit of forward-looking risk management:

"We're exploring ways to reduce the weight of all of our coconuts from about 1 to 1-1/2 pounds to about 3 to 6 ounces,'' Thornton said. "This could reduce our insurance costs next year.''

             * * *

The raw coconuts—which are sanded smooth and layered with shiny beads, glitter, feathers and other ornaments—historically have been drained by some krewe members to increase longevity.  But a universally lighter version will require further steps.

The weight would be decreased by cutting a hole, coring out the coconut meat on the walls of the shell and then plugging the hole, Thornton said.

[Note to the editor: There is an ambiguity in this passage as to whether it is the longevity of the coconuts or of the krewe members that is increased by the draining process.  Are pina coladas involved?]

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