Jefferson Parish’s Carnival is downsizing and changing for the worse in the last couple of years- one of the oldest krewes in Jefferson, the venerable Krewe of Thor, won’t parade in 2014, their 40th anniversary. Earlier this year, another old line Jefferson parade, Grela, called it quits. Jefferson Parish parades on both sides of the Mississippi River have been struggling even before these parades cancelled.
A new parade, the Guardians of Atlantis, won’t roll either. Membership concerns was the reason given.
Last year, some Carnival krewes in Metairie were fined for violating parade ordinances enforced for the first time.
“I was shocked. I felt like it was a slap in the face,” Krewe of Thor captain McKinley Cantrell said.
Cantrell, a 38-year captain and president of the Krewe of Thor, which was founded in 1974, said his krewe has been fined $400 for violating an ordinance prohibiting unmasked riders. The citation states that 60 of the krewe’s 500 riders did not follow the rules.
“I don’t have any control. I don’t have any control over that,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell said at least three Carnival krewes in Jefferson Parish were cited for violating parade ordinances. The Krewe of Atlas was fined $600 for two violations, member Daniel Murray said.
Smoking a joint on the float. The second violation is somebody on the float threw beads soaked in vomit, Murray said. That is really disgusting, they should have locked up the rider who threw vomit soaked beads.
There’s probably a link between last year’s fines and Thor throwing in the towel.
I cannot agree with Cantrell’s statement that he cannot control his members masking or not. If the Captain tells his membership to mask or else, they will mask. Orleans krewe members mask because there are well known penalties for disobeying. The truck floats on Mardi Gras Day have laxer rules than regular Orleans parades.
For decades, the Cantrell family was a major Mardi Gras float building company, building parades in the metro area for 60 years. Cantrell Sr. was Captain of the Krewe of Mardi Gras, and Jr. was Captain of Thor. Each was a pretty substantial parade back in their heyday. The Krewe of Mardi Gras ceased parading years ago. Now that Thor has stopped, it’s the end of an era in Jefferson.
The Mohawk Hunters from Algiers came to Orleans Parish Prison to show inmates how to sew patches for Mardi Gras Indian outfits. It is rare for a story for one of my two blogs to be appropriate for the other, but that is the case here. For me at least, that is cause for a small celebration.
Central to this story is the Alternative Learning Institute (ALI) and Tyrone Casby, principal of ALI and Big Chief of the Mohawk Hunters. The project is the Mohawk Hunters Cultural Journey and they brought a message of transformation from violence to pride. In the past, a culture of violence permeated the Mardi Gras Indian culture. Over time, feelings of pride in their sewing efforts and attaining proficiency in their craft replaced the violence.
Roughly 42 inmates took part in the program. Each participant worked and completed their own patch. The address I found on Google maps for 3000 Perdido St., New Orleans, LA 70119 is Orleans Parish Prison and that’s the address for ALI.
The Mohawk Hunters Mardi Gras Indians at Algiers RiverFest.
Sheriff Marlin Gusman praised the work of Casby and the Orleans Parish School Board for its funding of the Alternative Learning Institute and the many people necessary to provide the courses and other programs to inmates who choose to sign up.
If I had thought about this, I would have figured this online parade management tool would originate in New Orleans. It wasn’t. How about Minnesota? What a world, huh?
In Annandale, MN there is a 124 year old parade called the Annandale Fourth of July Parade. There’s a guy named Dwight who runs the parade and is in a little marching band that participates in a dozen parades!
When Dwight got his parade, he inherited a box of spreadsheets and data. He has Site Armor, Inc. and that was a perfect marriage and a year later, paradecloud.com was born. According to Dwight, Site Armor is a web based software company offering solutions to common situations. Meaning his software company creates software for the little man, not giant multinational corporations.
From the parade cloud web site- Parade Cloud is a feature-packed online parade management solution designed for the busy local parade coordinator. Parade Cloud is a perfect alternative to spreadsheets and paper applications that are cumbersome and take a lot of time to manage. With Parade Cloud, you can manage your parades from any computer or mobile device that has an internet connection. Parade Cloud is fully designed to be used on any mobile device. Perfect for iPads, iPhones and Android. Our efficient architecture and non-flash based coding allow you to use the full site on any mobile device.
I asked Dwight how much business he did in South Louisiana, and he said he didn’t do any. I was surprised. That’s a main reason for this story, to promote Parade Cloud. Pricing is surprisingly reasonable, and goes by the number of units in the parade. He may have to work on his pricing for the Gulf Coast region, since the parades are big, but not as big as an annual parade up north.
Introducing a new online opportunity for peak Carnival advertising on several popular websites. Ad packages to meet your unique needs are available through Icorp.net.
Icorp.net is the multifaceted host for numerous successful websites, including laclass.com, carnivalneworleans.com, and news.carnivalneworleans.com. Icorp.net controls such popular domains such as crawfish.com. For many years, Icorp.net hosted Gambit’s site, bestofneworleans.com.
Laclass.com is the original free Louisiana and southern online classified ad site. It was started in 1995, years prior to Craigslist. Google’s search algorithms value the age of a domain very highly. A very old domain gets a good ranking. Laclass’ core audience is high end customers seeking to purchase goods from Louisiana and other Gulf Coast sellers. Mardi Gras advertisers will benefit substantially from a whole new ad audience who participate in their own regional Carnival celebrations throughout the Gulf South.
Carnivalneworleans.com is the original New Orleans Mardi Gras portal, beginning in 1995. It’s an informational site, filled with the customs, lore, history and photos of the New Orleans Carnival. Over 200 million visitors have been to carnivalneworleans.com, more than almost all other Mardi Gras sites.
News.carnivalneworleans.com is a popular Mardi Gras blog with almost 200 entries all about the parades, politics, controversies, music, legends, food and culture of the New Orleans Carnival.
Bourbon St. Web Cam
The Bourbon Street web cam is the original French Quarter web cam, located near the center of Bourbon (ground zero of the Quarter) in the Vieux Carre. This cam is promoted all around the web due to the wild sights available on the cam when Bourbon is busy.
WHAT YOU GET
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Same ad, all three sites, in season $1,500; off season $1,000.
Different ads for all three sites, $2,000 and $1,500.
Add Bourbon St. cam ad, $3,000 and $2,000.
We are offering a feature in our Mardi Gras blog for any organization or company that purchases an ad in the off season.
Purchase any ad package before January 1, 2014 and receive an extra 3 free ads (on different pages) on any of our sites!! This doubles your exposure, making our ad packages second to none in value.
Contact David at davidatcarnivalneworleansdotcom for more info and to purchase an ad package.
I’ve written about the problems Carnival on the West Bank is having recently, when the Krewe of Choctaw left the West Bank after more than 75 years. After a test year parading down the historic St. Charles Avenue route, they are making the switch permanent.
Now, the mighty Krewe of Alla, after 80 years, is making the change also, leaving only three parades- Grela, NOMTOC, and Adonis. Alla claims financial concerns are forcing the change. It’s true Alla has lost a lot of members over the last few years, as they only have 175 right now. The Captain said a few months ago they would move the parade if they couldn’t attract 200 new members. In my estimation, they didn’t allow enough time to gain those members. Two or three months isn’t realistic. We are in the Mardi Gras ‘off season’, and even though behind the scenes many Mardi Gras businesses and krewes are in high gear planning for Mardi Gras 2014, the average carnival participant isn’t focusing on Mardi Gras this time of year. It’s unrealistic to ask for 200 new members on this basis. It seems to me that Alla planned to leave the West Bank all along.
Choctaw’s growth aspirations are much more realistic. They say they have 200 members, and hope to gain 50 new recruits. For this reason, I back Choctaw’s move far more than Alla’s. Obviously, the long, colorful and successful tradition of parades on the West Bank is in serious danger. When you only have three parades over the Carnival season, you don’t have a parade season, just a single parade every few days. This is a very sad development. The lure of the most famous parade route in the world, St. Charles Avenue, is very strong. In Orleans Parish, as police and sanitation costs rose substantially, neighborhood parades were told to abandon their historic routes in favor of St. Charles Avenue. Pontchartrain used to parade on Hayne Boulevard, by Lake Pontchartrain. Freret used to march down Freret St. Now, both go down St. Charles Avenue. As a matter of fact, all Orleans parades except for Endymion march down St. Charles.
There is one new positive development that might fix the West Bank parade situation, it’s the spanking new Huey P. Long Bridge! Seven long years in the making, the new bridge cost $1.2 billion, making it the one of the most expensive construction projects in the the state’s history. The infamously thin Depression-era bridge has always been a mental and physical barrier to connecting both sides of the Mississippi River. Politicians and West Bank supporters have felt for decades that a wider bridge would lead to an expansion of the western areas of the West Bank, as there are still big patches of undeveloped land across the bridge. We’ll have to see if Carnival on the West Bank grows as well.
Picked this up from the Louisiana Record.
The Simpson‘s voice superstar, who participated in the 2012 Bacchus parade, is suing the disc jockey hired to provide music on the float after allegedly sustaining injury to his hearing following the parade ride.
Harry Shearer filed a lawsuit against Rock-It Productions Inc., Global Indemnity Group Inc. and Penn-America Insurance Co. in the Orleans Parish Central District Court on Feb. 13.
Shearer claims that he was unable to move from his assigned position on the Bacchawhoppa float in the Bacchus parade after being strapped in behind a loudspeaker. He claims he was diagnosed with a case of tinnitus due to the defendant’s negligence and refusal to lower the volume or supply ear plugs.
Shearer is best known for his voice work on the popular cartoon series The Simpsons, but also has an extensive background in film and hosts Le Show, a weekly radio show broadcast on NPR affiliate stations throughout the country.
The defendant is accused of failing to provide any type of ear protection to the plaintiff and other float riders, failing to provide an alternative position on the float so as not to be in direct contact with the loud speakers and failing to take corrective action when asked multiple times by plaintiff prior to plaintiff’s injury. An unspecified amount is sought for medical expenses, loss earnings, physical and mental pain and disability.
Shearer is represented by Andrew S. de Klerk of New Orleans-based Frilot LLC. This case has been assigned to Division L Judge Kern A. Reese.
Bacchus is a super krewe of the New Orleans Mardi Gras. They march down St. Charles Avenue the Sunday evening before Fat Tuesday with an extraordinary parade with icon New Orleans Carnival floats such as the Bacchasaurus, Bacchagator, Bacchawhopper, Baccha-Amore and others. They were the original super krewe parade (1968), and they have been emulated heavily by Orpheus, Endymion
Shearer co-created, co-wrote and co-starred in the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap, a satirical rockumentary about a band called Spinal Tap. Shearer portrayed Derek Smalls, the bassist, and Michael McKean and Christopher Guest played the other two members. The film became a cult hit and the band has since released several albums and played several concerts. Spinal Tap was a rock band that played loud rock music, and many rock musicians have ear problems that plague them for decades.
When I was younger and my wife was by my side, I took my family during Carnival season to a lot of parades annually. We are talking around 40 parades per season, and we saw many twice. We were as wild a bunch of parade goers as ever was, and we loved every moment of that lifestyle. We gathered up our kids and the neighborhood kids and off we went, to the Orleans parish parades first, and in those days, we went to Hayne Boulevard, Freret Street, Claiborne Avenue, Downtown, Uptown, Mid City, Metairie, the West Bank, Slidell, the North Shore, and anywhere else a Mardi Gras rolled in the Metro area.
Now to talk about Metairie parades, they kind of suck these days, but Alla and Caesar will never suck; they remain really good parades in all aspects. What has happened is sad, but Metairie parades have been fading in quality for a while now. Not enough bands, not enough masking and costuming by float riders. That is now, but back then, when Metairie had very good parades, they were lots of fun and very worthwhile to attend. I remember how large Thor and Mardi Gras (now gone) was, they were captained by a father-son team, who also were float builders.
I had a resume company in Metairie, my only Jefferson job. This was when the Louisiana oil patch was doing poorly, and I learned a little about a lot of jobs. My office was right on Veterans near Bonnabel, and we would go out their to hang out during parades, have our own bathroom, and brought all sorts of delectable foods to snack on. I remember catching like a zillion cups during a Thor parade years ago.
Jefferson Parish officials fined a number of Metairie krewes because of lack of bands and not masking or costuming. $6,000 worth of fines have been assessed, more than four times the 2012 amount. The Jefferson Truck parade was charged $2,500 and the other truck parade, Elks Jeffersonians, was charged $1,800. Thor was hit with a $900 fine, Atlas $500, and Adonis $200. 2013 was the first year the Jefferson truck parades were subject to the costuming/masking requirements. They didn’t do well, did they?
Jefferson Parish officials are thinking about adding a second route. The only route for many years was down Veterans to Bonnabel Avenue, turnaround on Bonnabel, back to Veterans Boulevard to Severn Avenue, down Severn, then turn around on Severn to Veterans, then down Veterans to the end. We used to see the parade twice as it turned around on Bonnabel, running back and forth across the neutral ground to catch each float twice!
So what will happen to the Metairie Mardi Gras parades? That chapter hasn’t been fully written yet. Several krewes aren’t happy with the Veterans route, and are thinking of Metairie Road. The problem with Metairie Road is it is narrow with no neutral grounds and few sidewalks. Still, it’s a beautiful area with a good bit of shade trees (many nice oaks) despite all the shopping that has been built over the last few decades. Like Veterans, behind the stores are homes, homes, and more homes.
Meg was my Mardi Gras soul mate, we went parading from the mid 70s for the next 35 years and really had a blast decade after decade. I was very fortunate that she was a kid magnet and we would take our kids and the neighborhood kids on Mardi Gras parade excursions night after night during the season. In the late 70s, we crashed the CAC’s Krewe of Clones.
Before there was KdV, there was its predecessor, Krewe of Clones. Clones grew directly out of the Contemporary Arts Center. The CAC ran the parade, and the parade staging area was the CAC parking lot on Camp Street. It was an arty, satirical parade from the start. I still have an original1984 Krewe of Clones T shirt with the theme Barbie & Ken go to the World’s Fair.
After watching the parade one year in front of the CAC, we noticed the CAC Parade Marshall was drinking heavily over the couple of hours it took the parade to leave the staging parking lot.
The next year, we hatched a plan to crash the parade with our own float, taking advantage of the Marshall’s inebriation. We decorated our VW van into an elephant float by dying some sheets gray, and constructing a paper mache trunk, ears, and tail.
The night of the parade, we drove our float into position next to the CAC. When the parade was almost out of the staging area, we took advantage of the loose formation conditions, and drove our float straight onto the route. The Parade Marshall waved us on. For the next few years, we morphed that old van into other animals, and continued to crash the parade until the Marshall ‘retired’.
For several years in the mid 1980s, we had our own float in the Tucks parade. We paid the Krewe $500 cash and rented a stake bed truck and built our our cheapo float and invited all our twenty or so out of town Carnival visitors and all the neighborhood children to participate in the parade down Napoleon Avenue and down historic St. Charles Avenue on a Saturday afternoon during Mardi Gras. See the photo immediately below. I drove most of the with some help, and Meg rode on the truck and in the cab with me. We had an amazing time!
There is no competition when Muses hits St. Charles Avenue, in terms of original throws. There are a couple of different reasons for Muses’ unique throws. One the one hand they control all throws all members can toss. The krewe is rather large, at least 1,100 women.
On the other hand, they make the maximum amount of money on very expensive throws with small margins. The public benefits from these factors.
In 2013, I saw very few decorated shoes coming off the floats this year. Contrast this with my experience at the Zulu parade on Jackson Avenue. When the double deck floats arrived, I personally caught 5 coconuts in 10 minutes, then had to leave to make it to REX on time. If I had stuck around I would have caught a dozen coconuts from these double decker floats. Granted my costume was extensive for Zulu but for Muses I had my masculinity going for me.
Muses handed me lots of cool throws, I caught a powerful ring flashlight;a light up shopping bag medallion; a magnetic shopping list with pad and special marker; a reusable shopping bag, a collapsible flask with caribener; a heavy duty guide to the Makin’ Grocery floats that could double as a picnic blanket; shoe laces in a cool plastic test tube; koozies; kazoos; shoe bracelets; lariats; other medallions; shoe beads; coin purses, etc. It seemed relatively endless in terms of the variety of Muses stuff thrown off the floats.
This makes Muses a very high priced parade to ride in. I assume the dues is far less than the throws. By a wide margin. Again the public benefits from the wild variety of throws Muses throws.
Muses seems to pull marching organizations out of the wood work. No parade on St. Charles Avenue has more. They include the Pussyfooters; the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi;the 610 Stompers; the Camel Toe Lady Steppers; Disco Amigos; the Dead Rock Stars, and many more.
We truly live in the age of the democratization of Mardi Gras krewes. No longer do you have to spend a thousand dollars or much more to participate in a Mardi Gras parade (Bacchus, Endymion, Muses). The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus charges around $40 to join. My own Krewe du Vieux is around $125. This is really a fantastic development, and it opens up the thrill of belonging to a krewe to so many more New Orleanians and regional folks.
Many of these alternative krewes cost nothing to join. If you show up in costume with a musical instrument while the Krewe of Kosmic Debris is rolling, you are in. If you have a fantastic costume, the Societe de Saint Anne will welcome you.
The Mystic Krewe of Barkus is another inexpensive krewe, and it’s unique- You need a dog to participate. Barkus is a lot of fun- New Orleans is a very doggy city, and we really do get attached to our four legged friends.
Regular krewes hire float builders to build their parades. Alternative krewes generally build their floats themselves, and over time may become very good at their efforts.
Many alternative krewes consist of sub-krewes. I belong to the Krewe du Vieux, and my sub krewe is the Krewe of Underwear. Other KdV sub-krewes- Comatose, Drips and Discharges, and Seeds of Decline.
The Krewe of Cork has grown into a very substantial entity. Founded in 2000, the KoC has grown into a world-famous Mardi Gras and wine industry phenomenon. Krewe members gather on selected Fridays, usually the first Friday of each month, at restaurants throughout the area for T.G.I.C.D. (Thank Goodness It’s Cork Day).
The krewe’s two main events of the year are its Mardi Gras parade day festivities, and participation in the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Royal Street Stroll. Throughout the year, the Krewe of Cork invites members to wine dinners and other special occasions, such as road trips and wine tastings.
Then there’s Better Than Ezra’s Krewe of Rocckus. Begun in 2011, Rocckus was formed to allow BTE’s fan base a way to celebrate Carnival with the band. Rocckus includes concerts, a brunch, second line parade, private parade viewing and a cruise on the Creole Queen.