2009 New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade Rankings
1. Muses had the best throws by a mile. No other krewe is anywhere close to catching Muses. I’m recording short videos for the blog of two of the throws- the round mirrored medallion with the multi-colored light show and the ‘fan’ with the Muses light show. Here’s a listing from the New Orleans freecycle group that I received yesterday:
seek to borrow -Muses Light-up rings
Our dance group needs about 15 of the rings that were thrown at the Muses Parade for props. We will return them. We need them by Wednesday. Thanks.. Muses throws have become part of a dance performance. The hand decorated shoe has moved up in stature as a throw and now rivals the Zulu coconut, although I haven’t heard about Obama receiving a Muses shoe like he received a coconut and met with the King and Queen of Zulu! Muses dancing groups are second to none, except for possibly the Krewe du Vieux, who parade outside the formal 10 day Parade Season recognized by these rankings. Muses is big on satire, and their bands, floats krewe member’s generosity are good enough to swing this all-female krewe, only 8 years old, to the NUMBER ONE RANKING!
2. D’Etat earns the number 2 ranking for several reasons, including their top throw- a 360 degree 3-D full color cup, using lenticular technology. I didn’t see anything like this anywhere else during the Carnival season during the parades. I know the Giacona Company in Jefferson sells a cup like this. D’Etat out-promoted other krewes, with two different fliers on the parade route. D’Etat was built by Royal Artists, the preferred historic paper mache experts. Royal’s floats wobble and shimmy, creating movement in the paper mache props. Their satire was effective, even if most of the satirical krewes poked fun at many of the same entities- the economy, city council, mayor, etc.
3. Endymion is the people’s choice for best parade every year, since they have the biggest crowd without fail. Endymion has more riders on the biggest floats and more throws (volume) with the biggest float props. Endymion has St. Augustine High School Band leading off, and that is surely the mark of band excellence. Endymion on an average year is still almost the best parade in Carnival. They use the propane flambeaux, which burn at a lower temperature than the kerosene models, and therefore don’t produce the same high intensity light that the historic models achieve. Historically, the flambeaux illuminate the night parade, and the smoke from the flambeaux adds to the parade’s mystique. The propane flambeaux burn cleanly, so the smoke was lacking.
4. Bacchus is the original Super Krewe, and they had all the pieces- the icon floats, the huge membership, lots of throws, and numerous notable bands. Throwing beads at the Kongs is the only time NOPD allows throwing at the floats. The Bacchasaurus, Bacchawhoppa, and Bacchagator never disappoint the crowd. St. Augustine led off Bacchus, that helps raise a rating. The Bacchus crowd along St. Charles Avenue a few blocks from Napoleon seemed very well behaved and not as big as I remembered, and Bacchus closes out a big second Sunday of parades. Okeanos, Mid-City and Thoth all preceded Bacchus on Sunday.
5. Rex is the King of Carnival, and they are a perennial top 5 parade. But rarely are they as low as 5, and there is a reason the School of Design (Rex’s organization) in 2009 gets that rating. They ran out of bands! The entire second half of the parade didn’t have the requisite one float/one band ratio, but 2-3 floats/band! To huge Rex fans like myself, this is embarrassing. I never imagined Rex with so few bands.
Rex is a Blaine Kern production, and the floats looked divine as they should in the sun. Rex is the only Super Krewe to use wooden wagon chassis and wheels. This limits the size of their floats to historic dimensions. Rex didn’t disappoint with the heavier 50th Anniversary doubloon. Thoth also threw a heavier weight doubloon. Rex was the first krewe to throw doubloons 50 years ago after Alvin Sharpe approached the krewe.
They were very selective with the large plush boeuf gras, and a little less so with the smaller boeuf gras. They had a host of different medallion beads, all of them purple, green and gold. Rex stayed with their old medallion longer than any other krewe. Rex didn’t have a light up medallion bead, as Proteus had. In the recent past I caught a plush green crown from Rex, but that throw wasn’t evident this year.