Mardi Gras Parade
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.
The men and women in blue, our own New Orleans Police Department, aka NOPD, are the coolest cats on the parade route. Virtually nothing nonplusses them. They have seen it all on St. Charles Avenue during Carnival literally. They almost always have time to answer a question from a tourist or local. Most often they have smiles on their faces, except when something goes awry on the parade route and they must intercede.
Police in New Orleans are in what’s called Mardi Gras mode. No days off until the day after Fat Tuesday, and all shifts are 12 hours. That is a stressful combination. Other police forces in the metro area are coming to help out. State police, Probation and Parole, Kenner, St John the Baptist, St Bernard and Jefferson parish police on the way. That’s a lot of police.
I like to wish the police a good day or night on the parade route, as I have a high regard as a general rule for NOPD during Carnival. They are working while we are playing, and on really beautiful days like today, that’s not so easy. One thing about New Orleanians during Mardi Gras, they like to drink a beer or a cocktail while socializing out on the parade route.
Other situations can develop quickly during Carnival- float breakdowns are a possibility. People joining the parade ad hoc for the sheer fun of it (that’s not allowed). People getting run over by a float or kicked by a horse (these are fairly rare occurrences).
There is a Mardi Gras fugitive roundup going on, just this weekend 34 people were arrested for 54 offenses.
Those little black squares on their chests in both pictures are the cameras that record everything that goes down. That’s a good thing. Of course, the cameras can be turned off, and don’t always work.
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|