Archive for January, 2014
Mardi Gras the last two years has sucked for me. A major personal tragedy occurred in my life and it took a couple of years to come back. This year I’m living very very close to the main parade route. That should make for one big Carnival party at my place. I expect the 2014 Carnival season to be a fabulous one.
Mardi Gras is March 4th this year, and since Twelfth Night is a fixed date, January 6, the Carnival season is long. The season can be long or short or somewhere in between. The first parade in Orleans Parish annually is KdV (February 15), and I roll with them. Hurray!! Yeah!! Fun time!!
We roll in the French Quarter and Marigny, and our floats are pulled by mules, as they were a hundred years ago. We’re the only major Orleans Parish parade in those historic neighborhoods. Our floats are handmade by each sub krewe and far smaller than regular floats. The main krewe and the sub krewes make and throw their own buttons, with the central parade theme and the sub krewe’s theme on them.
The true strength and power of KdV can be plainly seen in our unbelievable list of brass bands. I’m in the music business and I cannot fathom this amount of brass muscle!
2014 KdV Brass Bands
Baby Boyz Brass Band
Stooges Brass Band
Treme Brass Band
Egg Yolk Jubilee
Hot Eight Brass band
Down and Dirty
Gretna and the North Shore continue to struggle with krewe membership problems. The leading factor is financial difficulties. For 2014, the North Shore will have only a single parade, the krewe of Eve. Eve’s membership is down from 570 to 300. That’s a drop of almost 50%, but the krewe is still large enough to support the parade. Mandeville’s Krewe of Orpheus didn’t parade last year and didn’t file to parade in 2014. The Captain said the membership had declined. This hardly constitutes a parade season on the North Shore.
On the bright side, Slidell’s Krewe of Claude failed to parade in 2013 but will be rolling for 2014. In fact, Slidell lost no parades from last year even though several krewes reported financial and membership difficulties, an excellent record considering what occurring in Jefferson and the North Shore. Last fall, the Slidell City Council passed new Mardi Gras regulations that raised fees for parades, instituted a minimum number of floats and riders per float for a parade.
Gretna lost Grela founded in 1947. That’s a major blow. Metairie lost Thor. That’s big also, 2014 is the 40th anniversary for Thor. Alla, a West Bank stalwart for decades, now rolls down St. Charles Avenue. It is painfully obvious that Carnival in Jefferson Parish is suffering right now.
The New Orleans City Council made sure they would originate many of the Orleans Parish Mardi Gras changes this year with a new group of rules and regulations concerning Carnival. You can read about the bill here.
The first parades down St. Charles in 2014 roll on Friday, February 21. Orleans Parish gets two days off this year, February 25 and 26 (Monday/Tuesday). I’m looking for a warm Mardi Gras, almost all Fat Tuesdays that fall in March are warm. It’s been a very cold winter so far in New Orleans, so we’ll have to see.
I love all Mardi Gras parades, and always have. Any krewe that can jump through all the hoops necessary to put on a real parade has my undying respect. It never was easy and now it’s very daunting. Parades and insurance costs go up and up. Krewes must have a minimum number of floats and bands now.
Nevertheless, I have my favorites and this forecast will highlight those. I look forward to my own parade, Krewe du Vieux, of course. It’s a lot of fun. The first weekend of parades, I prefer Sparta, Chewbaccus and Alla. Then Babylon, Muses, d’Etat, Tucks, Endymion, Mid City, Thoth, Bacchus, Proteus, Orpheus, Zulu and Rex. I love the truck parades down St. Charles.
The Krewe of Freret is back for 2014 after being gone for 2 decades! I’ve watched Freret when it rolled down Freret St. When I lived on Robert Street for a decade the Freret procession was my neighborhood parade.
The green movement has met Mardi Gras, and it’s resonating with the holiday. Most people realize that beads come from oil and from China and are one big waste of resources. They don’t compost very well either. Many organizations like ARC recycle beads and groups like verdigras.com strive to recycle, reduce and reuse.
Bring your Mardi Gras Beads to one of these following Arc locations:
925 S. Labarre Rd., Metairie
5700 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans
333 Sala Avenue, Westwego
3406 Hessmer Avenue, Metairie
Pontchartrain Center, Kenner
Neurological Rehabilitation Center, Covington
Whole Food Locations (Magazine & Veterans)
Mardi Gras World
Children’s Room, Main Library
Children’s Resource Center
Martin Luther King Branch
Forward leaning krewes like Krewe du Vieux and Chewbaccus make many of their throws by hand and use recycled materials in their throws.
It’s a fairly mild piece of legislation. For example, all ladders, regardless of height, now must be 6 feet from the street. This uniformity makes it easier for the police to monitor.
If you throw beads back at krewe members you will be fined $250 now. Some issues haven’t been decided yet. The toilet paper throw is back on the table with a different emphasis. Now, the unwrapped rolls are a ‘sanitation’ issue. That is a bull crap claim. I don’t think the vast majority of parade goers who catch a roll of paper actually use it. If they do, it better be clean. If it fell in the dirt or the mud it becomes garbage. The roll in the picture below has an outer wrap, keeping it hygienic.
If you place your private portable potty on public grounds, the company that rented you the unit will owe $250 to the City of New Orleans. That should cut down on the practice.
“Snap Pops” are now banned from Orleans Parish parade routes. The rationale here is the noise they create might scare horses. That’s not very true. Horses and mules that walk the parade route are very seasoned concerning loud noises. They have to be- parade routes are full of noise, from police sirens to marching bands with lots of trumpets and drums. I march with Krewe du Vieux, and the donkeys that pull our floats are approached by all sorts of parade watchers and loud noise dominates our parade. The donkeys behave beautifully throughout the entire route.
Also new this year- car riders can no longer perch themselves on the exterior of any auto. I guess the council considers this practice too dangerous? If you have a convertible, you are still allowed to have a single rider on the back of the open air car.
For 2014, you cannot set up a bbq in an intersection while the parade rolls. This makes some sense, since it’s hard to move a lit bbq for an emergency vehicle. Lots and lots of ladders are still allowed to set up in intersections. They can be moved rather quickly, but a lot of ladders would take a few minutes to move.
CARNIVAL 2014 Parades
Feb. 15. Krewe of Bilge. Slidell.
Feb. 15. Krewe of Mona Lisa and MoonPie. Slidell.
Feb. 15. Krewe du Vieux. French Quarter/Marigny, New Orleans.
Feb. 15. Krewe Delusion. French Quarter, New Orleans.
Feb. 16. Krewe of Perseus. Slidell.
Feb. 16. Krewe of Little Rascals. Metairie.
Feb. 21. Krewe of Cork. French Quarter, New Orleans.
Feb. 21. Krewe of Oshun. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 21. Krewe of Cleopatra. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 21. Krewe of Excalibur. Metairie.
Feb. 21. Krewe of Eve. Mandeville.
Feb. 21. Krewe of Atlas. Metairie.
Feb. 22. The Mystic Knights of Adonis. West Bank.
Feb. 22. Knights of Nemesis. Chalmette.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Pontchartrain. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Pontchartrain. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Choctaw. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Freret. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 22. Knights of Sparta. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Caesar. Metairie.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Olympia. Covington.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Titans. Slidell.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Pygmalion. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 22. Krewe of Chewbacchus. Marigny, New Orleans.
Feb. 23. Krewe of Dionysus. Slidell
Feb. 23. Krewe of Carrollton. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 23. Krewe of King Arthur and Merlin. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 23. Krewe of Alla. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 23. Krewe of Tchefuncte. Madisonville.
Feb. 23. Krewe of Barkus. French Quarter, New Orleans.
Feb. 26. Krewe of Ancient Druids. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 26. Krewe of Nyx. Uptown, New Orleans
Feb. 27. Knights of Babylon. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 27. Krewe of Muses. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 27. Knights of Chaos. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 28. Krewe of Hermes. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 28. Krewe d’Etat. Uptown, New Orleans.
Feb. 28. Krewe of Selene. Slidell.
Feb. 28. Krewe of Centurions. Metairie.
Feb. 28. Krewe of Lyra. Covington.
Feb. 28. Krewe of Morpheus. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 1. Krewe of NOMTOC. West Bank, New Orleans.
March 1. Krewe of Iris. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 1. Krewe of Tucks. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 1. Krewe of Endymion. Mid-City, New Orleans.
March 1. Krewe of Isis. Metairie.
March 2. Krewe of Okeanos. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 2. Krewe of Mid-City. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 2. Krewe of Thoth. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 2. Krewe of Bacchus. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 2. Krewe of Napoleon. Metairie.
March 3. Krewe of Proteus. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 3. Krewe of Orpheus. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 3. Krewe of Hera. Metairie.
March 3. Krewe of Zeus. Metairie.
March 4. Krewe of Zulu. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 4. Krewe of Rex. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 4. Krewe of Argus. Metairie.
March 4. Krewe of Elks Orleans. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 4. Krewe of Crescent City. Uptown, New Orleans.
March 4. Krewe of Elks Jefferson. Metairie.
March 4. Krewe of Jefferson. Metairie.
March 4. Societe de Ste. Anne. French Quarter, New Orleans.
March 4. Krewe de Lune. French Quarter, New Orleans.
March 4. Krewe of Kosmic Debris. French Quarter, New Orleans.
March 4. Mondo Cayo. French Quarter, New Orleans.
Orleans Parish Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, District B is leading this effort to tighten up some Carnival rules. Some make sense like ending parking on the opposite side of St Charles during parades. I didn’t see the toilet paper ban coming by any means, I thought the City Council was busy with the city’s business and the upcoming election. Wrong!
The Krewe of Tucks has already spent tens of thousands of dollars printing this year’s toilet tissue, and is shocked the ban is still part of the proposed ordinance.
The throw is made in America, unlike beads which are extruded in China in gulag type factories. Toilet paper disappears during the first hard rain, unlike beads which last for years. But as fast as this the toilet paper ban was presented by Cantrell it was withdrawn by Cantrell as the ruckus over this harebrained idea grew.
Tucks is known for several throws but their icon throw is their toilet paper roll. Each sheet has the Tucks logo printed on it. It’s not exactly on a par with the Zulu coconut, but it’s pretty high up there on the short list of icon throws along with Muses’ decorated shoe.
I spoke to some Uptown New Orleanians who don’t like St. Charles Avenue after Carnival with all the toilet paper on the majestic oak trees. Personally, I find the temporary effect surreal.