This is one sorry and sad feature.

For 2012, Gretna loses their most historic Mardi Gras Day parade, Grela, the West Bank’s only local celebration on Fat Tuesday.

Just last month, Grela announced their plan of cobbling together $60,000 from 3 Greta City Council members and a corporate sponsor but the corporation couldn’t pull off their commitment.

Krewe of Grela Doubloon

Krewe of Grela Doubloon

Krewe of Grela logo

Grela logo

Gretna stopped funding Mardi Gras in April when officials had to choose between paying for Mardi Gras activities and giving money to the Gretna Heritage Festival.

Yes, Gretna Fest has grown into a really nice festival, but Grela is Jefferson Parish’s oldest Carnival krewe. Gretna Fest has a huge budget with the dozens of bands that play the several day festival. They have corporate funding, charge a cover charge to enter the Festival, and sell a lot of food, drinks, and beer. They certainly could have covered the $30,000 much much easier than Grela could, and this is an obvious fact the Council should have seen a mile off.

Therefore, a Carnival Jeer goes out to the Gretna City Council for backing the total wrong horse with this poor decision in April 2011. The krewe was founded in 1947 as a men’s club, but it changed its name to Grela, an acronym for Gretna, La.

Grela Vice President Carmen Kass said she feels “rotten” about the krewe’s missed year, questioning whether the council ever really wanted to save Grela. She said initially the krewe was told it would cost the city $67,000 to host a Mardi Gras parade, but that number grew to $85,000. Kass said that amount would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for the krewe to raise in addition to the $150,000 to $165,000 price tag for the parade. More important, she said city officials told Grela that raising the money wouldn’t be a temporary fix until the city got back on its feet financially, but the new status quo.

After this slap in the face, Grela may end up returning in 2013 in Westwego. We’ll have to see.

Earlier this year Rhea, another Jefferson Parish krewe, called it quits. Rhea was formed in 1969, making this parade over 40 years old!  It began as an all woman parade, but became coed in later years. Rhea was the first Jefferson parade to roll down Veterans Boulevard, and the one of the few Jefferson parades to hold their ball in the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans.

Rhea logo

Rhea logo