Mardi Gras

2016 ODE to KREWE du VIEUX!!

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Mystic Ponies Aerial Troup with New Orleans Bingo Show!

Mystic Ponies Aerial Troupe with New Orleans Bingo Show!

 

It’s a very short Mardi Gras season this year with Fat Tuesday one week from the earliest date (February 3) possible. For 2016, February 9 is early early. That makes KdV early early rolling on Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 6 pm. That’s this Saturday and I’m in the parade! What’s the 2016 theme for the most ribald krewe of all of Mardi Gras? Krewe du Vieuxxxx is Rated XXX!!

The route has changed again, and there’s no doubling back as in most years. We march straight through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter, past Canal Street and Poydras, to the Civic Theater, 510 O’Keefe Street.

I’m a long time Escort for the Krewe of Underwear. It’s a really fun job, guarding our float and mule and making sure our krewe is moving without any undue delays. Escorts are supposed to do their jobs mostly sober, so if anything goes wrong, you’ll have your wits about you. I don’t drink booze until the parade is over, making me an ideal Escort.

2016 Krewe du Vieux Map

2016 Krewe du Vieux Map

 

The KdV Ball has two storied New Orleans bands, George Porter Jr and his Runnin’ Pardners and Walter Wolfman Washington. The 2016 Queen of Krewe du Vieux is FUSE reality show star and Bounce legend, Big Freedia. This is shaping up to be a super KdV party!  KdV has three distinct parties on parade day. First is the pre-parade party, complete with beer, food, and live music; next the actual parade, with all the excitement that brings; and finish with their ball, complete with booze, food and more top shelf New Orleans live music. The ball has a down and dirty brass band jam and additional entertainment by the Mystic Ponies Aerial Troupe.

GPJR

George Porter, Jr

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MAY 03: Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters performs during the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on May 3, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Legato/WireImage)

NEW ORLEANS, LA – MAY 03: Walter “Wolfman” Washington and the Roadmasters performs during the 2014 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on May 3, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Legato/WireImage)

 

Big Freedia in NYC!

Big Freedia in NYC!

 

 

BRASS BAND LIST FOR 2016 KREWE DU VIEUX

Lagniappe
Pinettes
Kinfolk
TBC
New Birth
Jazzmen
Bone Tone
Young Fellaz
Paulin Bros
Baby Boyz Brass Band
Stooges Brass Band
One Mind
Panorama
The Tornados
Free Agents
Treme Brass Band
Egg Yolk Jubilee
Hot Eight Brass band
Down and Dirty

Krewe du Vieux is a very unusual krewe. Members design and build the floats themselves. Members don’t ride on the floats, but walk behind the float, handing out throws to the crowd. Over time, KdV amateur float builders gain practical experience and build high quality floats. Mules pull the floats, and sub-krewes design and make their own throws. It’s an adults only parade that some parade goers bring their children to. I don’t really understand that, if you cannot find a baby sitter, stay home if you have children.

2016 New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade Schedule!!

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NOMusicMan at KdV 2015

NOMusicMan at KdV 2015

 

Krewe of Underwear 2015 Float j

Krewe of Underwear 2015 Float

 

KdV2015 Title Float- Begs For Change!

KdV2015 Title Float- Begs For Change!

Sat, January 23, 2016
Krewe du Vieux (Mature themed) 6:30 p.m. French Quarter
Sun, January 24, 2016
Little Rascals Noon Metairie
Perseus 1:00 p.m. Slidell
Fri, January 29, 2016
Cork 3:00 p.m. French Quarter
Oshun 6:00 p.m. Uptown
Cleopatra 6:30 p.m. Uptown
Eve 7:00 p.m. Mandeville
Excalibur 7:00 p.m. Metairie
Athena 7:30 p.m. Metairie
Sat, January 30, 2016
Mystic Knights of Adonis 11:45 a.m. Westbank
Knights of Nemesis 1:00 p.m. St. Bernard
Pontchartrain 1:00 p.m. Uptown
Choctaw 2:00 p.m. Uptown
Freret 2:30 p.m. Uptown
Knights of Sparta 6:00 p.m. Uptown
Pygmallion 6:15 p.m. Uptown
Caesar 6:00 p.m. Metairie
Olympia 6:00 p.m. Covington
Chewbaccuhus 7:00 p.m. Marigny
Titans 6:30 p.m. Slidell
Sun, January 31, 2016
Carrollton Noon Uptown
King Arthur 1:00 p.m. Uptown
Alla 1:00 p.m. Uptown
Dionysus 1:00 p.m. Slidell
Tchefuncte 2:00 p.m. Madisonville
Wed, February 3, 2016
Druids 6:30 p.m. Uptown
Nyx 7:00 p.m. Uptown
Thurs, February 4, 2016
Knights of Babylon 5:45 p.m. Uptown
Knights of Chaos 6:15 p.m. Uptown
Muses 6:30 p.m. Uptown
Fri, February 5, 2016
Hermes 6:00 p.m. Uptown
Le Krewe D’etat 6:30 p.m. Uptown
Selene 6:30 p.m. Slidell
Morpheus 7:00 p.m. Uptown
Centurions 7:00 p.m. Metairie
Sat, February 6, 2016
NOMTOC 10:45 a.m. Westbank
Iris 11:00 a.m. Uptown
Tucks Noon Uptown
Endymion 4:15 p.m. Mid-City
Isis 6:30 p.m. Metairie
Sun, February 7, 2016
Okeanos 11:00 a.m. Uptown
Mid-City 11:45 p.m. Uptown
Thoth Noon Uptown
Corps de Napoleon 5:00 p.m. Metairie
Bacchus 5:15 p.m. Uptown
Mon, February 8, 2016
Proteus 5:15 p.m. Uptown
Orpheus 6:00 p.m. Uptown
Tues, February 9, 2016 FAT TUESDAY
Zulu 8:00 a.m. Uptown
Rex 10:00 a.m. Uptown
Elks Orleanians (Truck Parade) Follows Rex Uptown
Cresent City (Truck Parade) Follows Elks Orleanians Uptown
Grela 10:00 a.m. Gretna
Argus 10:00 a.m. Metairie
Krewe of Jefferson (Truck Parade) Follows Argus Metairie
Elks Jeffersonians (Truck Parade) Follows Krewe of Jefferson Metairie

The Kerns Kiss and Make Up in Civil District Court!!

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The first family of Mardi Gras, the people responsible for building REX, Bacchus, Endymion, Orpheus, Caesar, Zulu and many more Mardi Gras parades, have ended their family feud. When you sue your octogenarian father, you create a rift that’s hard to close, but apparently the Kern family have overcome their differences.

Rex Boeuf Gras Float built by Kern Artists

REX Boeuf Gras Float built by Kern Artists

Blaine Kern Artists  Created the Bacchagator

Blaine Kern Artists Created the Bacchagator

We are all happy to have it behind us and just kind of move forward and do what we do best, and that’s build floats and create Mardi Gras, Barry Kern said. Blaine Kern, Sr, the patriarch of the Kern clan, agreed to a corporate succession plan with his son of Blaine Kern Artists Inc at New Orleans Civil District Court last week. The senior Kern sold his 50.1 percent in the company to his son Barry. Blaine received a lifetime consulting contract with the firm.

Where is Blaine Kern, Jr? Blaine’s other son is no where to be found in this story. After meeting with the judge, Barry and Blaine, along with their wives and Barry’s sons Fitz and Andrew, all went out to lunch together. No sign of Blaine, Jr. or his family. Hmmm….

I’m elated this half a decade old sad story has a happy ending. The patriarch is satisfied as he got paid by his son for his company so he can ‘retire’ in comfort. He’s 88, and mostly wants to spend time with his wife Holly and burnish his Mr. Mardi Gras brand.

Blaine and Barry Kern with Joe Jaeger

Barry and Blaine Kern, Sr. with Joe Jaeger

I’ve also said before, the reason this whole court debacle occurred is because Pixie Naquin isn’t there to smooth over the hurt feelings for the sake of family unity. She was the founder’s executive secretary almost since he started out in business, and she never let past serious family disputes end up on court. She was the cat’s meow for Kern Enterprises, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.

RIP Pixie Naquin!

RIP Pixie Naquin!

Judge Kern Reese’s consent judgement accomplishes several things- the court retains jurisdiction for two years over any future problems, all lawsuits filed by both parties are dismissed, and Reese’s 2012 injunction giving Barry Kern control of the company is terminated.

Top Five Mardi Gras Outside of New Orleans!

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I’ve been fortunate to celebrate Mardi Gras in France, Cajun Country, Baton Rouge and Mobile. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is number 1 in my book.

I’m a huge fan of Mardi Gras anywhere! I really don’t care, as long as the effort remains sincere. I prefer Mardi Gras in New Orleans, of course. Even when I lived away I returned for most Carnival seasons. The biggest difference between New Orleans and all the other Mardi Gras? New Orleans retains a fair share of risque behavior, especially in the French Quarter and Marigny. The parade I roll with Krewe du Vieux, is the most ribald parade in existence.

# 2

Rio de Janeiro 

Rio Mardi Gras in full swing!

Rio Mardi Gras in full swing!

Is Rio the Carnival Capital of the World? Rio’s spectacle draws a half million visitors annually, and the entire Carnival crowd is estimated to be over 2 million people for the final five days of the Carnival season.

The highlight of Rio’s Carnival is the Samba parade, which takes place each year at the Sambodromo, a special stadium built specifically to house the annual parade. Samba schools—social clubs consisting of 3,000 to 5,000 members, which represent a particular neighborhood in Rio—spend all year preparing for the parade, and compete with other schools based on their dancing, costumes and music. The competition takes place over several nights, with five or six schools parading each night. Brazil Carnivale is fabulous, just fabulous.

# 3

Mobile, AL

There is only one Mardi Gras in America older than the New Orleans Mardi Gras, and that is Mobile’s, only 144 miles away. Begun by Nicholas Langlois of France in 1703, fifteen years before New Orleans was founded, although today the Crescent City’s celebration is much more widely known. In Mobile, the first capital of French Louisiana (1702), the festival began as a French Catholic tradition, as do Mardi Gras around the world.

OOM's Folly Chasing Death

OOM’s Folly Chasing Death

Mardi Gras in Mobile has now evolved into a mainstream multi-week celebration across the spectrum of cultures in Mobile, becoming school holidays for the final Monday and Tuesday (some include Wednesday),regardless of religious affiliation. Much the same has happened in New Orleans. In downtown Mobile, there are 38 parades over 3 weeks. Baldwin County has a dozen major parades, and outside of downtown there are several parades as well.

# 4

Cajun Mardi Gras

The only place I’d move to if I had to leave New Orleans is Lafayette. I’ve spent many a good time in Lafayette, eating the amazing food, going to the fantastic festivals, hearing the Cajun and Zydeco hybrid bands, and meeting the wonderful people. New Orleans is Creole Louisiana and Lafayette is Cajun Louisiana. They have their own unique Cajun Mardi Gras with one of a kind Cajun traditions.

Courir de Mardi Gras means Mardi Gras Run. The event is held in many Cajun communities on Fat Tuesday.

Barry Ancelet, Cajun historian and head of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Folklore Department, has explained the origin of the Courir as being in rural medieval France: It’s an early springtime renewal and essentially a way for communities to celebrate and find themselves.

Southwest Louisiana shares in this tradition, collecting ingredients for a communal gumbo is the theme behind the run.The Imperial Calcasieu Museum, the largest Mardi Gras museum in the United States, tells the global history of the celebration, along with the best recipes for King Cake and showcases 1,000 costumes. As you wander through the displays, feel free to dance a little fais do-do. Don’t worry about having rhythm. Painted footsteps on the floor will tell you where your feet are supposed to be.

#5

Mardi Gras in Italy 

Carnevale is one of Italy’s biggest winter festivals, celebrated in the weeks before Lent. The final day of Carnevale is Martedì Grasso (Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday), the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras, along with the Thursday before, called Giovedí Grasso (Fat Thursday), are the main days of Carnival.

Italy is the birthplace of Carnival celebrations, having its origins in the ancient Roman cult of Saturnalia, fertility rites to honor the god Saturn. You can still see the ruins of the Temple of Saturn at the Roman Forum in Rome, where they used to hold sacrifices.

 

The most famous and typical Carnivals in Italy are in Venice, Viareggio (on the Tuscany coast) and Ivrea (Piedmont).

However, Carnival is celebrated all over Italy: every single city has its events, masquerade balls, costume parties and parades taking place in streets, piazzas and restaurants. Masks, sweets and having fun are the most important things during Carnival: it’s a chance to be happy and cheerful, not only for children, dressed up in costumes.

Wherever you are in Italy in Carnival time, just grab a mask you like and enjoy the celebrations!

 

 

Half of Slidell Parades Are On Probation!

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4 of 8 parades is big news. I’ve written about parade problems in Jefferson Parish before, including this entry about West Bank parade difficulties. Violations abound, and the krewes could lose their right to parade if they commit further violations in 2016.

I personally believe first violations should receive a warning. Mardi Gras krewes are a precious commodity. It takes oodles of cash, tight administration, organization skills and lots of dedicated people to successfully launch a parading organization. Mardi Gras krewes don’t grow on trees, they need to be nurtured carefully. Intentionally bruising Mardi Gras krewes helps ensure fewer krewes.

While the ordinance has been in effect for 2 years with no infractions noted before, putting half your krewes on probation is never a good idea. Why not ban Carnival in Slidell while the Council is at it?

Slidell City Council

Slidell City Council

The four offending krewes are Dionysus, the Slidell’s Woman’s Civic Club, Claude and Perseus. The four parades without letters are the two walking parades, Mona Lisa and MoonPie and Krewe de Paws of Olde Towne plus Selene and Titans.

Dionysus 2015

Krewe of Dionysus 2015

Over the last few decades, a hands off attitude concerning local parades was in effect. Things got tough in 2013 when the Slidell City Council adopted a litany of rules and regulations governing Carnival. New Orleans had toughened their parade regulations, and Slidell followed their lead. Reasons for probation- insufficient floats, riders, and bands; inefficient parade tempo; inappropriate dancing and music (?). This seems very petty. Parades are mile long, living processions that sometimes develop gaps. DJs have to produce hours of music. Once every blue moon, a curse word may sneak in a song. It’s not the end of the world. It certainly doesn’t mean probation.

Something seems out of whack to me. Dionysus captain Andy Frisard mentioned an email informing krewes about a meeting which stated failing to attend could jeopardize their permits. That set the meeting off on a unfriendly tone. Why threaten your krewes, who work hard and spend a small fortune to produce their parade for the good of the community?

Contrast this with the response of the Jefferson Parish council, which recently gave Jefferson krewes high marks even though apparently many parade infractions occurred. Questionable throws and fighting are among the violations committed. It looks like Jefferson is getting lax while Slidell is tightening the screws.

Jefferson krewes committed some egregious violations and got away with them! Throwing light bulbs (2014) and drug testing kits (2015) to the crowd is downright sick and dangerous. Who is the Jefferson Council kidding by granting this clean bill of krewe health?
 
It turns out a Captain in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office filed suit in March 2014 in Jefferson Parish against 2 float riders in the Corps du Napoleon parade. Here’s the digest of the suit from Louisianarecord.com-
 
GRETNA – A Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office captain is suing a pair of Mardi Gras float riders, as well as the Mardi Krewe and the float’s sponsor for injuries he allegedly received in an incident on board their float. Claude Wood Jr., and wife Cindy, filed suit against Brian E. Duhe, Kyle T. Crochet, TP Clearview, Corps De Napoleon and their insurers in the 24th Judicial District Court on Jan. 16. Wood, a captain in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, alleges that on March 2, 2014 riders aboard a Corps De Napoleon float, sponsored by Twin Peaks restaurant, started unscrewing light bulbs from the float and throwing them into the crowd during a Mardi Gras parade. The plaintiff contends that he boarded the float to confront the riders when he was attacked by Duhe and Crochet, employees of Twin Peaks who allegedly failed to monitor their alcohol consumption and monitor their employee’s actions. Wood asserts he was injured in the incident and had to be treated at a local hospital. The defendants are is accused of failing to act with care and diligence, failing to take into account the safety of others, failing to prevent the throwing of lights bulbs from the float, failing to recognize the float riders were impaired and providing and encouraging alcohol consumption. Damages in excess of $75,000 is sought for physical pain and discomfort, mental anguish, disability, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, aggravation, annoyance, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of use of parts of body, bodily disability, impairment of psychological functioning, destruction of earning capacity, loss of support, loss of society and loss of consortium. Wood is represented by Robert. T. Evans of New Orleans-based Burgos & Evans. The case has been assigned to Division G Judge E. Adrian Adams. Case no. 745-922. – 
 

What’s the motivation here? Jefferson Parish has been recently burned by old line krewes abandoning the parish for greener pastures on St. Charles Avenue. A check of sanctions passed by Jefferson in the last few years shows in 2012, 5 krewes were fined $1,300. The next year, 6 krewes were penalized $6,000. Last year, 1 krewe was fined $500. Slidell hasn’t lost any krewes to sanctions or parade route jumping yet. It should be interesting in Slidell the next few years.

 

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