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.
The just passed Carnival season was warm, with very little cold weather. It was the warmest season in long time. Next year Mardi Gras comes earlier, on February 12. That means the legendary Krewe du Vieux rolls January 19, 2013. That’s mighty early. I can’t wait!!
The warm weather helped to loosen up the masses, and the crowds were large uptown, downtown, by the Mississippi and the lake. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is very, very unique, like other Carnival celebrations around the globe.
Lots of celebrities showed up to have some fun: Will Farrell (filming a movie locally), Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis, Mariska Hargitay, Bret Michaels, Patricia Clarkson, Maroon 5, Hillary Swank, and Harry Connick Jr, among others had a blast at the 2012 New Orleans Mardi Gras.
Zulu, REX, the trucks and Parade of St. Anne are just the big names in the truly million public and private events and parties in New Orleans on a Mardi Gras Day. Talk to any convenience store owner in any part of town and they wish every day was Fat Tuesday!! I noticed a smaller store in my neighborhood had more than half their stock sold on Tuesday.
There are many zenith points on Fat Tuesday. The French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny are one major zenith. When Zulu and Rex roll, that’s another zenith or two. All the Mardi Gras Indian Gangs, both uptown and downtown, are a big big zenith.
All around town, there are mini zeniths too numerous to count. Add all these little ones up, and you have the biggest zenith of all- the neighborhood combined zenith!
Throws are changing. Since the 1960s, the doubloon was king. Beads were much shorter and lighter, and glass beads from Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) were more plentiful. They were the most sought-after throw for decades. In the 1980s, the Giacona Container Company pioneered the logo, full color cup. Now, Giacona sells the krewes Green Cups. One of their big Mardi Gras clients is the School of Design, aka REX, King of Carnival.
For 2012, beads were longer and heavier than ever before. Many lay on the parade route; people are looking for more unique throws. Short beads along with longer beads were the domain of the truck parades. A pack of 12 beads weighs a ton compared to the bead packs of the past. If you get hit in the head by a pack of the modern beads, it can hurt you seriously.
It’s my 30+ anniversary of my first NOLA Mardi Gras, I’ve been here since 1975. Turns out I love Mardi Gras more now than I ever did, and that’s because it’s more fun than ever! There are way more private events, night spots, affordable krewes, and scheduled events than ever before. There are an amazing assortment of neighborhood Mardi Gras celebrations that leave the parades alone and are very genuine in their own right.
Cheaper original krewes lead the way in making Mardi Gras more affordable to the masses. Many krewes have their own ideas as to throws, floats, and music. There’s more variety to the throws than ever before. The leader in innovative throws is the all female krewe of Muses. Krewe of Chewbacchus leads the way in affordable krewe fees.
There are more music clubs than ever, with alternative rock, brass band, rock, R&B, Funk, Soul, etc. enjoying a live music club renaissance on a level I haven’t seen in 30+ years. Many of these newer and some older clubs lack a music license, meaning no cover charge, and the band gets paid via tip jar plus 20% of the bar. When the club does around a thousand patrons or so, the band can make real bucks this way.
Facebook and other social networking sites make it easier to keep in touch with friends from high school through retirement, making the party that much richer and fun.
Add the exotic foods, and you have a grand slam of fun. King Cakes lead the way in Mardi Gras foods. I’ve had sushi, BBQ, Popeyes, lots of Martin’s Wine Cellar roast beef, rotisserie smoked turkey breast, etc. sandwiches. I’ve grilled fish, oysters, steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, shrimps, and lots of vegetables. All on Fat Tuesday. Desserts like Decadent Chocolate Cake, Mandel Brot, pies, cookies, loafs, etc.
There’s no stopping the New Orleans Mardi Gras 2012 now. Parades resume tonight with the Krewe of Ancient Druids at 6:30 p.m. and Krewe of Nyx at 7p.m. Both use the Uptown route. So far, my favorite parade has been my own Krewe du Vieux. We have the best parade route of all parades- the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. These are most historic sections of town, as the French Quarter was the original settlement.
Outside of KdV, my 2nd favorite parade was King Arthur, though they ran over an hour late(?) due to a shortness of rider harnesses. The Fire Department has the ultimate say so over this issue, and they delayed the parade until the harnesses were in place. They play an important role in preventing float riders from falling off.
I’ve acquired some new purple, green and gold pieces for my Fat Tuesday costume. My plan for the big day? Start off with Zulu on Jackson Avenue, then on to St. Charles Avenue in time for Rex. Catch a few dozen trucks, then eat some seafood gumbo and an Italian sausage hoagie with peppers & onions. Next, I plan on going downtown to the Marigny, around Frenchmen Street to catch a few Mardi Gras tunes at the numerous cool clubs in that area.
I sure love Mardi Gras in New Orleans!!