Mardi Gras Parade
Mardi Gras 2016 was fantastic, it was exciting, it was downright thrilling at times. Of course, I’m a Mardi Gras freak. It was a very short season, ending on February 9. Next year, Fat Tuesday is more than 2 1/2 weeks later.
I want to thank my sweet girlfriend Sue and my good friend Billy, both Mardi Gras freaks without whom the entire season wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. Billy lives a block from St. Charles Avenue so his house was parade central and I went to virtually all my parades with Sue.
The season began for me with my own Krewe du Vieux, which rolled January 23. It was a terrific parade and the ball was fantastic, with none other than Texas guitar legend and ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons on guitar and vocals along with Walter Wolfman Washington and George Porter, Jr. The ball was held in the Civic and it’s a pretty nice party forum compared to some of the more sorry auditoriums KdV has used in their recent past.
I caught a couple of newish throws, the Thoth Fedora and the NYX Earbuds.
When Fat Tuesday was only a couple of hours past sunrise, I was on Jackson Avenue below Dryades for Zulu. I was wearing my purple, green and gold silk scarf, my purple reversible satin cape from amazingcapes.com, my gold half mask, and my newly acquired Mardi Gras furry leggings. I bought the leggings Fat Tuesday morning on the Zulu parade route from a shopping cart vendor.
Bands play a big role in parades, the best bands generally are from local high school and surrounding colleges. Out of town bands perform in many parades toward the end of each season, as local high schools are limited to seven parades per season. Bands have been part of Mardi Gras processions and parades since the very beginning. Bands cost the krewes a lot more money post Katrina. Before the storm, parade band fees ran $1,000-$1,500 per parade. After Katrina, the bands ask for and get $3,500 or more. Bands are in demand for more than one reason. They add the beat and the funk, essential elements of parades. The New Orleans City Council has mandated that all Orleans parish parades have 7 bands. My own Krewe du Vieux has around 20 brass bands participate in the parade.
Year after year, the best high school band is the St. Augustine Marching 100, and the best college band is the Southern University Jaguar Band. Other notable bands in 2016 include the Landry Walker High School Band and the Texas Southern Ocean of Soul.
Some of the best looking floats all year were in the Proteus parade. Royal Artists create this parade, and it’s the best work they do by far.
I ended up in the French Quarter at Molly’s at the Market on Decatur around noon Fat Tuesday, to meet the Perv Patrol, my girlfriend’s Sue’s themed costume group. It was the first time in decades I missed REX which was my choice after deciding to see all of ZULU for the first time in as long. ZULU had a long break near the beginning that was over 30 minutes long and set the parade back big time. We ran into the Krewe of Cosmic Debris which had come down Decatur Street just as I arrived. Molly’s is one of their stops so I had a really hard time getting a drink when the krewe invaded the bar. I went down the street to an adjacent bar and bought a double and returned to Molly’s.
Sat, January 23, 2016
|Krewe du Vieux (Mature themed)||6:30 p.m.||French Quarter|
Sun, January 24, 2016
Fri, January 29, 2016
|Cork||3:00 p.m.||French Quarter|
Sat, January 30, 2016
|Mystic Knights of Adonis||11:45 a.m.||Westbank|
|Knights of Nemesis||1:00 p.m.||St. Bernard|
|Knights of Sparta||6:00 p.m.||Uptown|
Sun, January 31, 2016
|King Arthur||1:00 p.m.||Uptown|
Wed, February 3, 2016
Thurs, February 4, 2016
|Knights of Babylon||5:45 p.m.||Uptown|
|Knights of Chaos||6:15 p.m.||Uptown|
Fri, February 5, 2016
|Le Krewe D’etat||6:30 p.m.||Uptown|
Sat, February 6, 2016
Sun, February 7, 2016
|Corps de Napoleon||5:00 p.m.||Metairie|
Mon, February 8, 2016
Tues, February 9, 2016 FAT TUESDAY
|Elks Orleanians (Truck Parade)||Follows Rex||Uptown|
|Cresent City (Truck Parade)||Follows Elks Orleanians||Uptown|
|Krewe of Jefferson (Truck Parade)||Follows Argus||Metairie|
|Elks Jeffersonians (Truck Parade)||Follows Krewe of Jefferson||Metairie|
The first family of Mardi Gras, the people responsible for building REX, Bacchus, Endymion, Orpheus, Caesar, Zulu and many more Mardi Gras parades, have ended their family feud. When you sue your octogenarian father, you create a rift that’s hard to close, but apparently the Kern family have overcome their differences.
We are all happy to have it behind us and just kind of move forward and do what we do best, and that’s build floats and create Mardi Gras, Barry Kern said. Blaine Kern, Sr, the patriarch of the Kern clan, agreed to a corporate succession plan with his son of Blaine Kern Artists Inc at New Orleans Civil District Court last week. The senior Kern sold his 50.1 percent in the company to his son Barry. Blaine received a lifetime consulting contract with the firm.
Where is Blaine Kern, Jr? Blaine’s other son is no where to be found in this story. After meeting with the judge, Barry and Blaine, along with their wives and Barry’s sons Fitz and Andrew, all went out to lunch together. No sign of Blaine, Jr. or his family. Hmmm….
I’m elated this half a decade old sad story has a happy ending. The patriarch is satisfied as he got paid by his son for his company so he can ‘retire’ in comfort. He’s 88, and mostly wants to spend time with his wife Holly and burnish his Mr. Mardi Gras brand.
I’ve also said before, the reason this whole court debacle occurred is because Pixie Naquin isn’t there to smooth over the hurt feelings for the sake of family unity. She was the founder’s executive secretary almost since he started out in business, and she never let past serious family disputes end up on court. She was the cat’s meow for Kern Enterprises, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.
Judge Kern Reese’s consent judgement accomplishes several things- the court retains jurisdiction for two years over any future problems, all lawsuits filed by both parties are dismissed, and Reese’s 2012 injunction giving Barry Kern control of the company is terminated.
The public relations problem first became apparent when T-shirt-wearing members were accosted in public, according to one OOI member.
One member was harassed at Sam’s Club, she said. She had a gentleman come up to her, asking a lot of questions … and she said we are a Mardi Gras organization, the OOI member recounted. He didn’t understand us having ‘Isis’ on our clothing.
Another member who works in a doctor’s office also got attention for her shirt, the member said.
As we all know know, ISIS is the name of a middle eastern terrorist group that our military is fighting on a daily basis.
This just shows how current world events can impact a innocent Mobile, AL Mardi Gras Krewe in a serious manner.
One of Mobile’s newest parading groups, a ladies’ organization, the Order of Isis was formed in 2008, held its first ball in 2009, and staged its first parade in 2010. They have 115 members. Henceforth they will be known as OOI.
When OOI was formed, the name was chosen because we were founded on friendship, and Isis is the goddess of friendship and love, the OOI member said.
We’re just hoping that we can be OOI for a couple of years until all of this dies down, and then we can go back to our original name, she said.
The decision was also difficult because the group had already ordered throws and T-shirts this year, an OOI board member said. Some cups, footballs and koozies have already been printed, but there may be time to change other orders, she said.
Talk about falling on your sword! The second oldest krewe in Jefferson Parish and the only krewe left on the West Bank are about to fall off the cliff. Both have received revocation orders from Sean Burke, Parish Community Affairs Director. I’ve written before about the suicide march Jefferson krewes are on.
In 2009, fourteen krewes held Mardi Gras parades in Jefferson Parish on the East and West Banks. 3 of 4 West Bank krewes have moved onto St. Charles Avenue uptown- Alla, Choctawand Cleopatra. The east bank krewes haven’t moved, though Rhea dropped out after their bingo revenue took a steep dive and they had trouble paying their bills.
If Adonis and Zeus are forced to drop out, Jefferson Parish would have 9 krewes left, all on the east bank. It amazes me that all the parades on the West Bank are disappearing. 9 isn’t a firm total by any means. Thor and Atlas, two established krewes, didn’t parade in 2014. The Guardians of Atlantis, a new krewe, was scheduled to run in 2014 but canceled out last summer.
Zeus’ 2014 parade only had 2 bands, 3 short of the minimum set by the ordinance. They also were short a couple of floats. Each infraction can result in permit revocation. I’m sure the offending krewes will appeal. Zeus is another old krewe, they started in 1957.
This is the end of an era, and it doesn’t portend well for Mardi Gras in New Orleans overall. The West Bank has a proud tradition of parading going back decades and decades. Alla, Jefferson’s oldest krewe, started in 1932, grew from a neighborhood parade into a super krewe, the brainchild of Blaine Kern Sr. It disturbs me West Bank parades are gone, I believe the entire process was very shortsighted. The West Bank deserves a robust parade schedule. What are all those West Bankers to do for Carnival parades in 2015?