Krewe of Underwear
It’s Twelfth Night (Jan.6), the formal start of the 2013 Carnival Season! I hope that excites you, because it excites me! It is a short season this year, as Fat Tuesday is Feb.12. As of today, there are 37 days to Fat Tuesday!! Plus, the Super Bowl will be played in New Orleans on Feb.3. As I’ve written before, this means the parades will be split into two sections, with the nine day Super Bowl break occurring in the middle.
Twelfth Night is the start of the King Cake season, though the grocery stores put them out around New Years Day.
YUM!! There are a million varieties of King Cakes today, we live in the true renaissance era of King Cakes. Here’s a fancy King Cake recipe from star chef Emeril Lagasse. When I first moved to New Orleans in the mid 1970s, the only type of King Cake was plain ones. Then McKenzie’s Bakeries, a local chain, produced the first filled King Cakes. Now, you can find almost any flavor possible. McKenzie’s is long gone, but their unique innovation lives on and on!
As for the PPP, or Phunny Phorty Phellows, their ride down St. Charles Avenue on a St.Charles Avenue Street Car occurs tonight.
From the PPP website: The modern organization was revived in 1981 by a small group of friends and Mardi Gras enthusiasts. It has continued without interruption to the present day. The PPP paraded with the Krewe of Clones from 1981 until 1986. In 1982 we also began a tradition of riding the streetcar line (in a streetcar) and proclaiming the arrival of the Carnival season on Twelfth Night. That is the night when the new Boss and Queen are chosen by the traditional King Cake method as well as the occasion of the sumptuous Coronation Ball. A “Carnival Countdown” take place right before the Phellows board the streetcar.
The Storyville Stompers is the official band for the Streetcar Ride and Benny Grunch and the Bunch play at the Coronation Ball.
Other innovations and features: Beautiful invitations and dance cards like 1800s by a series of royal artists: Beth Kesmodel, Hal Pluche, Jeanne Woods, Arthur Nead, and Kevin Barre.
My own Krewe of Underwear, part of the historic Krewe du Vieux, roll January 19, which is very exciting and probably a very cold evening. I’ll have to bundle up big time before rolling. I love the brass bands, the donkeys, the heavy ribald satire, and the route- we roll through the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny. There is no better place to be January 19 than at our parade or in it. Happy Mardi Gras to the World!!! Here’s our route-
I’m in love with my krewe! It’s weird I know, but I know why I love participating in the fabulous, historic Krewe du Vieux. I love the walk through the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. I adore the donkeys who lead our homemade, highly professional floats. Every float has a New Orleans brass band leading it.The Hot 8 Brass Band was in front of us and for the entire parade they positively lit the street on fire with their incredible 2nd line sound.
What I am attracted to more than any other factor when I parade with my Krewe of Underwear is what happens as I pass the crowd that has gathered to watch the parade. Each person I pass has their eyes on me and wants one of my throws. What happens next is amazing. I gain a tiny amount of energy from that encounter, which occurs time and time again as I pass the crowd and connect with them. The crowd doesn’t feel the loss of energy that I gain over and over and over again. When the parade ends I have a very rare feeling of elation that lasts for a couple of days. Then it fades and I’m back to myself.
The feeling is similar to what a musician feels when he is on stage performing. When he/she connects with the audience, they gain the same bit of energy from throughout the crowd over and over. It’s a fabulous, rare experience that helps keep the Mardi Gras floats full of rider decade after decade.
I’m an Escort for the krewe, which is the perfect role for me. I stay sober for the pre party and parade, and I may have a drink or two at the post parade. This allows me to walk with my float, making sure that no ‘incidents’ occur to our krewe, donkey, band and the crowd. No one is allowed to ‘join’ our krewe for more than a minute or two. No messing with our donkey, and if there is an accident or incident, use your whistle to call for help! I also keep our float where it belongs in the parade, and don’t allow the float to speed up or slow down too much.
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!!
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.
Here’s a photo series from Saturday night, when my beloved Krewe du Vieux rolled through the French Quarter and Marigny.