I have always loved Carnival, from the first parade I ever saw to the last one last night. Really looking forward to my new costume wrinkles for 2016 and the fact that I’ll be heading to the French Quarter for the first time in a decade. I’ll be meeting up with my girlfriend Sue at Molly’s at the Market.
When I first came to New Orleans, the only real throws were short beads that had little plastic connectors. The photo below, Muses Rice Beads, shows the type of beads that were all in vogue at the time minus the Muses metal ‘M’. Medallions were timid little things, not the garish giants of today. There were also a number of Czechoslovakian glass beads.
Now, throws are very diversified. Blankets, light up beads of all description, koozies of all description, mini soccer balls and footballs galore, small stuffed animals of all ilk and variety, are just a sampling of the endless variety. Most come in it’s own plastic bag.
So all this junk made of oil is now wrapped in a bag made from oil? Mardi Gras is getting grosser on an environmental level on an exponential level, and that’s a depressing and negative trend. How this came to pass is easy to explain. As throws got more expensive and complex, they warranted individual wrapping for ease of throwing.
In Orleans Parish, there are parade regulations passed by the City Council. Here’s the section on ladders-
Sec. 34-33. – Ladders and portable toilets.
All ladders used by parade spectators shall be structurally sound. No ladder, chairs, ice chests, chaise lounges, barbecue grills, and other similar personal effects shall be placed in intersections or between curbs of public streets during the pendency of a parade. Ladders, tents, grills, and other personal effects shall be placed six feet back from the street curb. Additionally, the practice of fastening two or more ladders together shall be prohibited. It shall be prohibited to use ropes or other similar items to create a barricade or otherwise obstruct passage along public property, unless otherwise specifically authorized.
When I used to see parades on Napoleon Avenue around Prytania Street, where they often line up, the police used to make sure all ladders were 6 feet back from the curb. Around town on Canal Street for Endymion and on St. Charles Avenue, it doesn’t appear the police enforce these rule anymore.
Most floats were full, but some, earlier in the season, were not. Paying for a float and not having any riders on it isn’t the best use of a krewe’s money. I am sure float riders are required to keep their masks on, and the vast majority do. Some parade captains feature less lax enforcement.
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.
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.
George Porter, Jr
BRASS BAND LIST FOR 2016 KREWE DU VIEUX
Baby Boyz Brass Band
Stooges Brass Band
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.
Sat, January 23, 2016
|Krewe du Vieux (Mature themed)||6:30 p.m.||French Quarter|
Sun, January 24, 2016
Fri, January 29, 2016
|Cork||3:00 p.m.||French Quarter|
Sat, January 30, 2016
|Mystic Knights of Adonis||11:45 a.m.||Westbank|
|Knights of Nemesis||1:00 p.m.||St. Bernard|
|Knights of Sparta||6:00 p.m.||Uptown|
Sun, January 31, 2016
|King Arthur||1:00 p.m.||Uptown|
Wed, February 3, 2016
Thurs, February 4, 2016
|Knights of Babylon||5:45 p.m.||Uptown|
|Knights of Chaos||6:15 p.m.||Uptown|
Fri, February 5, 2016
|Le Krewe D’etat||6:30 p.m.||Uptown|
Sat, February 6, 2016
Sun, February 7, 2016
|Corps de Napoleon||5:00 p.m.||Metairie|
Mon, February 8, 2016
Tues, February 9, 2016 FAT TUESDAY
|Elks Orleanians (Truck Parade)||Follows Rex||Uptown|
|Cresent City (Truck Parade)||Follows Elks Orleanians||Uptown|
|Krewe of Jefferson (Truck Parade)||Follows Argus||Metairie|
|Elks Jeffersonians (Truck Parade)||Follows Krewe of Jefferson||Metairie|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!