With a blood alcohol of .232, Mr. Rizzuto was very drunk. He got in his truck in his inebriated state and swung onto N.Carrollton Avenue near Orleans Avenue and mowed down the Endymion parade crowd. At his sentencing, Rizzuto said, I am extremely sorry to all the injured parties or their families. It was never my intention to cause harm to anyone. The events of Feb. 25 have haunted me and will haunt me forever. If I could change the events of that day, I would. Again, I am truly sorry.
Willard gave Rizzuto a five-year sentence for each of 11 felony counts of first-degree vehicular negligent injuring, and five months for each of 14 misdemeanor counts of vehicular negligent injuring. All the sentences will be served at the same time.
Depending on how state corrections officials interpret the complicated rules for determining “good time” within the prison system, Rizzuto could be a free man within months. A state spokesman said it was too soon to estimate a release date.
Several crash victims and District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro expressed disappointment at Rizzuto’s punishment, which came at the end of one of the most high-profile criminal proceedings of the past year.
I’m not happy with the sentence, said Mario Basantes, a tourist from New York City who was injured along with his wife. I’m not comfortable with it, because he’s only going to do six months, a year, and he’ll be out back out on the street. I’m still not healed. I probably will never be healed.
Basantes, whose pelvis was crushed on both sides in the crash, supported himself with a cane outside of court.
Endymion Super Floats
Rizzuto wore orange jail clothes and glasses as he turned to a group of victims gathered in Willard’s courtroom and delivered a short apology from notes on a yellow legal pad.
I would like to apologize to the victims, Rizzuto said, before reading off the long list of those hurt in the incident.
Endymion is one of three Super Krewes, and with more than 3,000 riders it is by far the largest parade with allegedly the largest crowds in Mardi Gras! Endymion features 37 floats. Many are tandem units with up to nine sections, meaning Endymion rolls on over 80 chassis! The motto of the Krewe is “Throw ’til it Hurts” and we estimate that we toss over 15 million throws along the parade route.
Endymion begins on Orleans Avenue with Samedi Gras which may well be the world’s largest block party. More than 30,000 Mid-City residents gather with food, beverages, friends and family to welcome the parade and help kick off the largest parade in Orleans Parish.
Endymion rolls on the Mid City route and features several signature floats. Their newest float, Club Endymion is a tribute to their home – the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The ETV float beams live crowd shots on a gigantic 20’ x 9’ LED screen. And Pontchartrain Beach, Then and Now is the largest float in Mardi Gras at over 300 feet long with over 250 riders and nine sections
Endymion is the only parade that rides to and through the Mercedes Benz Superdome where the Endymion Extravaganza is held. After the gigantic floats, Endymion continues the tradition of providing the finest entertainment in Mardi Gras. Past performers include Steven Tyler, Pitbull, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5 and many, many others! Eleven regional and national bands entertain 20,000+ guests until 3:30 am.
Many Orleans parades suffer from interminable delays because of too many units. Krewes have agreed to shorten their lengths. Some of the larger krewes have already made these changes.
The magic number is 12, that’s how many non float groups allowed before the first float, with one additional group after each float. This will have a big effect on parade length, which I think is a fine idea. Parade lengths have progressively gotten longer as more and more people want to be in the parade as opposed to watching the parade. There is a big difference. I am in a krewe and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Participating in a parade is a real New Orleans experience a New Orleanian shouldn’t miss.
The second parade I was ever in after the Krewe of Clones was Tucks. Lloyd Frischhertz was co-running Tucks when I was with them and he still is today, as he is also co-founder. I cut my own deal with Lloyd back in the 1980s. The second picture is our Tucks float one of the years we did it.
We wouldn’t have have preferred it, but we’re good with it, said Lloyd. Tucks is one of the krewes that will have to trim some of the groups it otherwise would have paraded with. It has such a large number of such groups dating back to when the group was just starting out and relied on more marching groups than floats, said Lloyd
I think what the city is trying to do because of the police shortage, they have 20 or 30 percent less policemen for the parades than they had before the hurricane, and they kind of want to make all the parades a little shorter and run faster so the police aren’t on the streets 14 hours at a time, he said.
M My Krewe of Tucks Float from 1980s!
The other change shortens the route by a few blocks. When the parades reach Canal Street they historically turn left and march up Canal Street a few blocks. That’s what’s’ being eliminated, just a few blocks where the parade doubles back on itself, essentially trapping the people on the neutral ground while the parade is on both sides of them. Everybody wins here- the parade is a few blocks shorter and an untenable though minor safety snafu has been averted.
Isaac ‘Mr Ike’ Edwards Jr, died Wednesday at Heritage Manor nursing home in Houma, where he lived since Hurricane Katrina destroyed his New Orleans home. Edwards was the last link to an earlier time in Mardi Gras Indian history. Back then, Indians had to save every penny and nickel to assemble their suits, dying discarded turkey feathers and salvaging beads off old ball gowns.
After earning early awards from New Orleans own Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame, Edward continued to earn praise for his artwork. A few years ago, Edward and Herreast Harrison, Cherice Harrison-Nelson’s mother (a close friend of Edward), received a commission from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee to create a butterfly apron that became part of the Museum’s permanent collection.
Big Chief Edward in 1952
Edward was lucid right until he passed, and one point he made regularly was the Indian culture he grew up with was not violent. This flies in the face of conventional Mardi Gras Indian history, according the late Larry Bannock, Big Chief of the Golden Star Hunters, I’m gonna mask that morning if it costs me my life. That morning you pray and ask God to watch over you, cause everybody is bucking for number one.
After joining the Army Air Corps and the 92nd Infantry Division during the WWII, Edward started working as a longshoreman, which he kept for 38 years. He retired from costuming in 1952. However, after befriending Harrison-Nelson, the daughter of his long time friend Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr, he started sewing once more After being invited by Roselyn Smith, the principal of Oretha Castle Haley Elementary School and Harrison-Nelson, Edward started teaching the Indian traditions to a younger generation and helping to make butterfly patches and suits for the Young Guardian of the Flame.
Working with students rejuvenated Edward. I want to be remembered as a great man who loved children, he said. Up until a month before his demise, Edwards continued to sew, still able to thread a needle without the aid of glasses in spite of his advanced age.
Last month during his hospitalization, he instructed many of New Orleans big chiefs about his funeral. Edward asked Roselyn Smith to make chocolate cake for funeral attendees. He created his own list of speakers for his funeral. He asked that the tune Indian Red be sung during his service and again when the procession was on the street. He wanted lots of Indians and a lot of dancing.
Here comes NOLAier Than Thou, the Krewe of Chewbaccus own shoebox parade at 7 pm on May 4 2016 in the Bywater/Marigny, the stomping grounds of New Orleans only annual shoebox parade, ‘tit Rex. Generally speaking, copying the schickt of another Mardi Gras parading krewe in your own parade, in their own backyard, is verboten. It’s seriously messing with the juju of a parade, their raison d’etre.
No one else throws decorated coconuts, purses, or shoes during the entire New Orleans Mardi Gras parading season besides the originating krewes. That’s the worst thing a krewe can do to another, so it’s throw down time.
Why is the miniaturized parade scheduled for May 4? It’s an obvious Star Wars pun, may the fourth be with you. Chewbaccus refers to their parade as Shoeboxus, another pun on their idol, Chewbacca, a major hero from the Star Wars saga.
You have to hand it to Chewbacchus, they are hitting back hard the only way they know how, parade-style.
For decades, New Orleans school children have made shoebox floats for miniature parades.
Chewbacchus Captain Ryan Ballard admits that the idea for Chewbacchus’ shoebox parade hatched during a social media feud with ‘tit Rex. Their route has shifted. It now begins and ends at the Faubourg Marigny location of Dat Dog sausage restaurant, and Chewbacchus’ brand new Temple of the Sacred Wookie in the upstairs dining area.
Dat Dog as graciously agreed to donate a portion of sales during the Chewbacchus parade to the STOMP troopers, a program that assists children afflicted with autism to march in their Mardi Gras parade annually. This is an excellent benefit combined with a parade. What could be better than that in the City That Care Forgot, New Orleans?
It was fabulous, darling, just fabulous. That’s how I would sum up the 2017 season. It was a warm Carnival , always preferable to a cold or wet one. When Fat Tuesday falls in late February, like it did this year, warm weather is practically expected. I’ve always loved Carnival since coming to New Orleans, it has always been my favorite holiday. I alway costume on Fat Tuesday in the colors of Carnival; purple, green, and gold. It’s a good look for me. Zulu always responds to a good costume; REX doesn’t if the costume mimics their look, which I do. I still do well at Rex, as I’m an enthusiastic parade goer and I’ve always reported positively and honestly about Rex on this blog, so karma is with me during their parade.
I’m in one of the earliest parades, KdV, Krewe du Vieux. It’s the parade most like parades from 100 years ago, which is why I take part. Participating in a parade remains one of the greatest experiences a New Orleanian can experience, and shouldn’t be missed. Every time a parade participant meets the eyes of a parade goer asking for a throw, a tiny piece of energy is transferred from parade watcher to parade participant. Over the course of an entire parade, the energy addition for the parade participant is slight but palpable. This boost lasts a day or two.
Handing out throws is the most elegant and fun micro moment repeated throughout the parade. The sheer joy of connecting with a parade goer is really big. Again, when, the parade is over, a parade participant feels the joy of mass giving on a repetitive level over a couple of hours. It’s a very happy effect.
Food wise, Carnival 2017 was a success. We finished up at Theo’s Pizza, who make a mean pie. It was delicious, and the wait wasn’t that long for Fat Tuesday. For the final 5 days of Carnival, I cooked macaroni and beef and made my wonderful sausage and chicken gumbo. That carried us through the main Carnival weekend with great style and elan. We ate our share of King Cakes and found Gracious King Cakes from the bakery to be stellar but when bought from Whole Foods, had aged considerably and the filling dried up.
Company was stellar. Over Carnival, alcohol flows freely, making parades in general more fun. I was with my girlfriend Sue and my good friend Billy and his friends. We drank every few days and good times ensued with or without booze. We all love the parades, with their bright lights, animals, freshness, music, spectacle, beauty and excitement.
I followed my usual plan, catching Zulu and Rex before hitting the French Quarter. Zulu didn’t disappoint. I saw Mayor Landrieu on horseback with his official posse. He looked happy, riding his horse in unison with other dignitaries and NOPD. I caught them at Jackson and Dryades, a traditional spot for me. Bought a drink at a local bar right before the parade and over the next hour I caught 5 coconuts. It was wild and a lot of fun. Zulu looked fierce in the brilliant sunlight. I missed my friend but really had a good time at Zulu 2017.
It was on to Rex around 9:30 by foot, and it takes about 20 minutes to walk to Harmony Street. The sights and sounds around me were intensifying as the day wore on. All the revelers on St. Charles, the crowds parked for Rex and the trucks to follow, it was a sight to behold. There really isn’t anything remotely similar to St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras Day. It’s a one of a kind event on a one of kind day.
The crowd around Zulu on Jackson, for Rex on St. Charles and Harmony, and walking toward home in Mid City was cordial and hospitable. New Orleanians celebrate Mardi Gras in their own ways. Some on the parade route, some in the street, some at home with friends and family. I passed many families in the neighborhood around Zulu and Rex BBQing