How exciting! Krewe du Vieux time, almost. I’m a longtime escort for the Krewe of Underwear, one of the many sub-krewes that make up KdV. Marching in a parade is one of the most fun, most unique experiences a New Orleanian can experience.
As an escort, I have four main duties. 1. Stay relatively sober. 2. Make sure no one or no group joins the parade during the parade. 3. Make sure the float is moving down the parade route at an even keel. 4. If some incident occurs, blow the whistle to attract quick help. An incident can be a float problem, or someone gets injured by the float, etc.
I’m not the big drinker a lot of other krewe members are. I like to drink now and again, but I generally don’t have an urge to overdo it. There are three drinking opportunities during parade day. There’s the pre-party before the parade, there’s the 2.5 mile parade itself, and there’s the ball after the parade.
I usually drink for the third event, the ball. If I start drinking hours earlier, I won’t be in very good shape by the time the ball comes around. The krewe of Underwear is responsible for feeding and providing drink for the escorts. That doesn’t always work out that well. I generally bring my own food and drink into the ball. That way I am assured of eating and drinking well.
KdV is the only krewe in all of the New Orleans Mardi Gras that is allowed to roll in the Marigny and French Quarter. That’s because the krewe is a marching krewe, and the floats, pulled by mules, are far smaller than floats that carry riders. It’s real treat to march through these historic parts of town at night during the parade.
The musical acts provided for the ball is top tier New Orleans, like the Radiators, Walter Washington and the Roadmasters, John Cleary, etc. The crowd is incredible- the entire KdV and guests, dressed in awesome costumes. It’s a sight to behold.
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!
Another story for both my blogs, as this sad tale has to do with Mardi Gras crime. Apparently Tulane University hasn’t sought out NOPD for help in solving the robbery. Hundreds of old krewe items, including including invitations, favors, badges and other memorabilia was taken. Tulane University police attended a recent meeting of the Mardi Gras Memorabilia Society to inform members about the theft and to ask for their help.
It has been known for some time that the Tulane Carnival Collection had lax security. Among the more valuable missing items was a 1858 Krewe of Comus ball invitation and admittance card. Comus was formed the year before, making these items extremely rare.
The list of missing memorabilia is more than 40 pages long and includes hundreds of valuable items including a Falstaffian (turn of the century krewe, long gone) dance card; a bunch of REX medals; Elves of Oberon pins; and much more.
Rafael Monzon, a long time Mardi Gras memorabilia collector, said the items, as a group, could be worth $250,000 or more. Monzon said entire folders of material are gone, including the 1887 file from Krewe of Proteus, creator of the city’s second oldest parade. He said world of Mardi Gras memorabilia collectors is small, and vintage pieces can sell for hundreds of dollars.
Much of the missing Tulane collection are invitations and paper items, as they don’t take up much space or weight.
On the topic of old Mardi Gras ball favors, I found this wonderful page on Pinterest, it’s by Alaina and Lily Hauver and it’s called Forgotten Mardi Gras Krewes. Here’s the link.