This was a Mardi Gras to remember. The police strike (NOPD) cancelled the parades in Orleans Parish, but Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes held all their parades. Much of organized Carnival was canceled in New Orleans, but all of the less organized groups came out as usual.
On Fat Tuesday morning we went to the west bank for Grela and the trucks, then headed back over the Mississippi River bridge to find the Wild Tchoupitoulas Indians. We found them, with Chief Jolly, Charles Neville on sax, and Aaron Neville smoking a joint with our little group! We really enjoyed our time with 2nd Chief Norman Bell, Chief Jolly (George Landry), Aaron and Charles Neville, and other Indians and musicians.
We were living on Robert Street off of Danneel St, so we were very close to where the Nevilles all lived back then, on Valence Street. This was right before the Nevilles became major label fodder and began to travel the world in earnest as the pride of New Orleans, the Neville Brothers.
We hung out and followed the Wild Tchoupitoulas for a couple of hours before heading the the French Quarter and a party on Royal Street. These uptown Mardi Gras Indians were followed by a crowd of about 20 people. It was really an enjoyable aspect of Fat Tuesday that year.
Since that time, we’ve gotten into a bit of a fun rut on Fat Tuesday. We set up on St. Charles for Rex and the Trucks, and catch some of Zulu on Jackson Avenue before. There is so much to do and see at the New Orleans Carnival you can hardly go wrong, as long as you travel in a small group for safety reasons. We always bring a number of really excellent foods and drinks for Fat Tuesday. We BBQ, bring hot gumbos, sushi, traditional desserts like king cakes, mandel brot, decadent chocolate cakes, chocolate babka, etc. Not all of that each year, but I always make a half dozen Po-boys in advance for guests and friends who show up during the number of hours we’re on St. Charles enjoying the parades and trucks.
We always bring a king cake, that’s positively necessary.
The krewe says they have the support of the other krewes and have arranged for the necessary floats. The Captain says the New Orleans Police Department never responded officially to the krewe’s application.
An adviser to our fine mayor, Mitch Landrieu,said the application ”fell through the cracks.” Apparently the police thought the application was for 2014, even though their enclosed check was for 2013.
The original Krewe of Freret started in 1953. I remember watching them on Freret St in the 1970s and 80s. In 1995, the krewe was in financial difficulties and stopped parading.
The new krewe says they will hold their ball and coronation. I’m pleased they are staying active with the plan to return to a parading krewe in 2014. The krewe’s web site says- WELCOME TO THE KREWE OF FRERET – WE CANNOT BE STOPPED!
In late 2011, seven young Loyola graduates lamented the notion of squandering hard earned money to join a formal Krewe where they knew virtually no one and would have limited input. So rather than joining an existing Krewe, they sought to enhance Mardi Gras by creating a world class parade.
Those simple three words that utter so softly off of your lips, “Krewe of Freret”, drive Tulane and Loyola alumni to come together for the greater good of Carnival. Whereas the word ‘Freret’ was previously a division line between two campuses, the Krewe of Freret aims to unify these enthusiastic young professionals and infuse new vigor into Mardi Gras while simultaneously fanning the revitalization of the Freret corridor and her traditions.
The Krewe has received incredible support from the community, with many Freret Street business owners counted as Krewe of Freret members.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!!
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.
Since April, Blaine Kern Sr, Carnival legend and founder of Mardi Gras World, was heading down the slippery slope of foreclosure. Blaine Sr has been embroiled in a nasty law suit with his son, Barry Kern.
As readers of this blog already know, I always preach one axiom when discussing this case- never sue your parents, it won’t work out in the long run no matter what you believe at the time. This is a time honored axiom that can’t be overcome or changed.
When the first Super Parade was born in 1967 with Bacchus, who was the float builder who made Captain Augie Perez’s dreams come true? Blaine Kern Sr. He’s been the float builder of record for Rex, Orpheus, Endymion, Muses, Bacchus, Alla, and Caesar, all the Super Krewes of note in recent Carnival history
Blaine sought national accounts, and landed Disneyland and MGM as major clients, among other big businesses. He’s represented the great traditions of Mardi Gras in the best New Orleans tradition of service and quality. I personally helped grow it (Mardi Gras) into a billion-dollar industry, says 85-year-old Blaine Kern, nicknamed “Mr. Mardi Gras”. I’ve been doing this for 74 years.
The Algiers Point house he bought with his fourth wife, Holly Brown-Kern, is slated for the auction block in two months, according to a foreclosure notice filed this week by Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office.
The notice lists a May 3 auction date for the Abalon Court property in the Algiers Riverpoint subdivision. Whitney Bank sued Kern in January over a $283,849 debt on the house, which the couple bought five years ago for $290,000, according to public records.