New Orleans Carnival
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is under three weeks away! In the middle of all that, we are hosting the Super Bowl, featuring the Baltimore Ravens vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Mardi Gras will be taking a nine day vacation while we host Super Bowl XLVII in the venerable Super Dome!!
We are having an incredible month, with President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, MLK Day, plus the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras! Whew!! That’s a lot of huge events for any month in New Orleans. Of course, the President’s inauguration and MLK Day occur all over the USA, From New York to California and all points in between.
The 2013 Carnival season kicks off in high gear this weekend with lots of parades on the St. Charles Avenue route. Oshun, Cleopatra, Pontchartrain, Choctaw, Sparta, Pygmalion, Carrollton, and King Arthur all roll down the traditional route.
Can you guess how many parades from the list immediately above are older than 20 years old originated on St. Charles Avenue?
Uno Un One. Which one?
Sparta, which began in 1951. There are plenty of old neighborhood parades in that list. Can you guess them?
Cleopatra paraded for 39 years across the Mississippi River before changing to St. Charles for 2013.The New Orleans City Council voted on yesterday (January 24) allowing the ladies krewe from the west bank to move their parade to the traditional New Orleans uptown route. The Krewe of Cleopatra will kick off the Carnival Season on January 25, 2013, the first Friday of Mardi Gras.
Captain Dolores Kepner says,This is the perfect year for us to move our parade to the New Orleans uptown route. It opens up tremendous possibilities for the first weekend of Mardi Gras. We are honored to be a part of that.
Choctaw is parading down St. Charles for the first time in 2013, and has plans to return to their traditional parading grounds, the West Bank, in 2014. King Arthur (1977) also started on the West Bank. Pontchartrain began in the Lakeview area, marching on Hayne Boulevard by the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Carrollton first paraded in their namesake neighborhood. Oshun and Pygmalion started on St. Charles, but they are newer parades.
That leaves only the Knights of Sparta as an historic procession originating on St. Charles. The Knights of Sparta are often mis-named the Krewe of Sparta!
There are two non-conformist parades out in the Faubourg Marigny over this weekend- ‘tit Rәx, and Chewbacchus, and both roll Saturday in the Marigny. ‘Tit Rәx used to be named ‘tit Rex, until the King of Carnival, the Monarch of Merriment, sued tiny little ‘tit Rex for stealing their name! As can be seen from the photo below, ‘tit Rәx is a miniature hand made float procession, not a full sized parade like Rex. I don’t think Rex made the proper decision, but tit ‘Rәx’s solution to turn the ‘e’ in Rex into a ‘schwa’ which is what a ‘ә‘ is.
Chewbacchus is a science fiction kind of krewe which features costumes and hand pulled floats in the Star Wars tradition.
Lots of news to report, none of it huge, so I’m compiling it into one feature. Of course, the Super Bowl returns to New Orleans in the middle of the Carnival season, so the parades in Orleans parish are split up.
I’ve covered Slidell parades before, as the first couple of entries are about North Shore parades.
1. The Krewe of Claude, a parading krewe with 24 parades under its belt, has called it quits for 2013. No Slidell parade and no ball. Apparently membership had fallen to a point that neither event was possible. They promise to return for 2014, as they plan to pursue new members sooner rather than later. Last year the parade had around 12 floats and close to 200 members. In my crazier, wilder, younger Mardi Gras days, I used to take the family and guests to attend Claude, which runs very early in the season. We had a blast in those days, running to parades in Slidell.
2. For the past 25 years, the Original Krewe of Orpheus has rolled down the streets of Mandeville, throwing their signature pine cones. Unfortunately for Mardi Gras fans in Mandeville, the parade has been cancelled for 2013, according to Krewe Captain Brett Lowe,
Last week, the Krewe of Lyra announced they will not parade in Mandeville, but have moved its parade to follow the traditional parades in Covington Mardi Gras Day, the Mystic Krewe of Covington and the Lion’s Club.
However, Orpheus has no plans of moving. According to Lowe, “The Original Krewe of Orpheus will stick to Mandeville.”
In connection with the decision, Lowe issued a press release that stated, “On behalf of Board of Directors, it is with major disappointment that we must inform everyone of our decision not to ride on Feb. 8, 2013. We have experienced financial difficulties through a decline in membership over the past few years, which dictates our abilities to produce a quality parade that we are proud of. We are re-organizing and will ride in 2014.
Hoping to boost membership, the krewe will host a “rebirth party” on its previously scheduled parade night, Feb. 8, 2013. For more information, interested parties can email Lowe at email@example.com.
The Mandeville all-women’s Krewe of Eve had extend an opportunity to Orpheus to parade behind their krewe on Feb. 1, but Lowe said that was not the route Orpheus wished to take. He thanked them for their offer.
“It was given in the true spirit of Mardi Gras, and we appreciate their kindness, and commitment to the community,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Lowe stated the organization will continue to be a men’s krewe, and the re-organization party will replace the krewe’s annual ball Feb. 8, with women included as they would be at the ball. There will be a slight charge and interested parties should contact the krewe.
Regulations in the city of Mandeville requiring a minimum number of 150 riders paid a “slight part” in the group’s decision not to ride, according to Lowe. As with most parades throughout the area, a permit and insurance is also required.
The Original Krewe of Orpheus was founded in April 1987, a year after the Krewe of Eve had successfully made its debut. Its first parade was in 1988 with 13 floats plus local and regional marching bands. Its signature throw, the pineloon, was originally a pine cone covered in glitter, sitting atop a doubloon base. More recently, it was a plastic pine cone necklace.
Ironically, this past year was the 25th anniversary year with the theme “Orpheus’ Silver Lining.”
3. Orleans Parish’s Krewe of Orpheus announced 2013 plans- Leading the festivities and parade with Harry Connick, Jr. are other celebrity monarchs including star of the CBS hit show CSI New York, Gary Sinise; Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; Animal Planet’s Tillman the skateboarding bulldog; and returning monarchs, Law & Order SVU’s Mariska Hargitay, and the Imagination Movers.
4. Harry’s got a new Mardi Gras album named Mardi Gras in New Orleans. That’s an original title if I’ve every heard of one!!
5. My own Krewe du Vieux is building their floats, my own Krewe of Underwear’s float is taking shape beautifully, can’t show any photos yet. We roll January 19, 2013!!
Really looking forward to Carnival in New Orleans 2013. It’s the first one I’ve ever experienced without my wife by my side. We were both huge Mardi Gras fans. Fat Tuesday is February 12, which is rather early.
Ash Wednesday is always 46 days before Easter, and Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Easter can fall on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25, with the exact date to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following a spring equinox! If you’re still confused, get out that calendar with the printed holidays on it- it’s the day before Ash Wednesday!
Nevertheless, it’s 72 days to Fat Tuesday, so here we go!! I’m very excited about my own krewe, KdV, or Krewe du Vieux. I’m in the Krewe of Underwear, and we march January 19, 2013!! Most years when we march it’s quite cold, but a couple of years recently, it’s been really warm. We are the only krewe to march in the historic French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny, all our floats are pulled by mules, and only brass bands provide the parade music, with a brass band between each float. KdV is an adult only parade, since we feature very ribald floats. The satire isn’t what the problem is, it’s the vulgarity factor.
The Super Bowl is being played in New Orleans this year, and the game is right during the parade season. Some parades have been moved to the first half of the season. The season is split!!
May march with the Society of Saint Anne in the Marigny. Never have, but I need to change my routine, as my long time partner is not with me.
As was the case for Mardi Gras 2002 after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the 2013 parade season will be cut in two, with the first week of Carnival beginning Jan. 25 instead of Feb. 1. That will be followed by a nine-day break in parading as football fans, city officials, the tourism industry and police turn their attention to Super Bowl XLVII (47)
The Super Bowl is Feb. 3, and Mardi Gras 2013 falls on Feb. 12.
The parade season will pick up again after the big game. Traditionally, the official Carnival season consists of 12 consecutive days that culminate on Fat Tuesday.
A handful of Krewes must change their parading days to suit the new schedule.
Parades rolling on Friday, February 1, Oshun and Cleopatra, move to January 25. Parades rolling on Saturday, February 2, Pontchartrain, Sparta and Pygmalion, move to January 26. Parades rolling on Sunday, February 2, Alla, King Arthur, and Carrollton, move to January 27.
As a result of the schedule changes in 2002, some krewes had to scale back in size. The 11 krewes forced to change their schedules received financial compensation from the NFL. The details of the settlement were confidential, but the krewes asked for $550,000, or $50,000 per krewe. The NFL also paid the National Automobile Dealers Association $7.5 million that year to move its meeting to the Super Bowl’s original slot.
Schedule courtesy Tulane.edu.
2013 Orleans Only Parade Schedule
|Friday||January 6, 2013||Phunny Phorty Phellows||Uptown Streetcar Route|
|Friday||January 6, 2013||Krewe of Jeanne d’Arc||French Quarter|
|Saturday||January 19, 2013||Krewe du Vieux||Marigny/French Quarter|
|Friday||January 25, 2013||Krewe of Oshun||Uptown|
|Friday||January 25, 2013||Krewe of Cleopatra||Uptown|
|Saturday||January 26, 2013||Krewe of Pontchartrain||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Saturday||January 26, 2013||Krewe of Choctaw (1 year only)||Uptown|
|Saturday||January 26, 2013||Knights of Sparta||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Saturday||January 26, 2013||Krewe of Pygmalion||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Sunday||January 27, 2013||Krewe of Carrollton||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Sunday||January 27, 2013||Krewe of King Arthur||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Friday||February 1, 2013||Krewe of Cork||French Quarter|
|Sunday||February 3, 2013||Mystic Krewe of Barkus||French Quarter|
|Wednesday||February 6, 2013||Krewe of Ancient Druids||Uptown – Jefferson|
|Wednesday||February 6, 2013||Mystic Krewe of Nyx||Uptown – Jefferson|
|Thursday||February 7, 2013||Knights of Babylon||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Thursday||February 7, 2013||Knights of Chaos||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Thursday||February 7, 2013||Krewe of Muses||Uptown – Jefferson|
|Friday||February 8, 2013||Krewe of Hermes||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Friday||February 8, 2013||Le Krewe d’Etat||Uptown – Jefferson|
|Friday||February 8, 2013||Krewe of Morpheus||Uptown – Jefferson|
|Saturday||February 9, 2013||Krewe of Iris||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Saturday||February 9, 2013||Krewe of Tucks||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Saturday||February 9, 2013||Krewe of Endymion||Mid-City|
|Sunday||February 10, 2013||Krewe of Okeanos||Uptown – Jefferson|
|Sunday||February 10, 2013||Krewe of Mid-City||Uptown – Jefferson|
|Sunday||February 10, 2013||Krewe of Thoth||Uptown – Henry Clay|
|Sunday||February 10, 2013||Krewe of Bacchus||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Monday||February 11, 2013||Krewe of Proteus||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Monday||February 11, 2013||Krewe of Orpheus||Uptown – Napoleon|
|Tuesday||February 12, 2013||Krewe of Zulu||Uptown – Jackson|
|Tuesday||February 12, 2013||Rex, King of Carnival||Uptown – Claiborne|
|Tuesday||February 12, 2013||Elks Krewe of Orleanians||Uptown – Claiborne|
|Tuesday||February 12, 2013||Krewe of Crescent City||Uptown – Claiborne|
Now I’m a member of Krewe du Vieux, and it really is a blast to be in a krewe. I love Mardi Gras from the street perspective, but belonging to a Carnival Krewe, that’s a whole other level of fun. We get to march in the historic French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. Our super satiric, ribald floats are adults only. Our floats are pulled by donkeys and each float has it’s own brass band! The Hot 8 Brass Band was in front of us in 2012 and they kicked butt and I mean they kicked butt. The entire miles long route was an excuse for these brass warriors to take our entire Krewe of Underwear to a new party parade level, which energized the crowd as they passed.
Robert Tallant, the New Orleans author, said it all- Mardi Gras is a spirit…an immortal one…as immortal as man’s ability to make believe, to escape the dreariness of the everyday life that is most men’s portion, to have fun, laugh and to play…Mardi Gras is very old, but it is also very young. It belongs to the past, yet also to the present and the future. The face it wears is not necessarily its last. It will exist in other forms, in other times, in other places. It would be wonderful if the clown in the grinning mask should appear on all the Main Streets of the world, if the blazing flambeaux and the rocking floats there could be a season or at least a day devoted to Laughter.
More on Robert Tallant photography here @ nutriasdotorg.
The color photo above and the 1905 trio of Mardi Gras costumers above are from Tidbits, Trinkets and Images.