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.

Rex Jester Float

Rex Jester Float

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.

 

Krewe du Vieux Mule

Krewe du Vieux Mule

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

Lagniappe
Pinettes
Kinfolk
TBC
New Birth
Jazzmen
Bone Tone
Young Fellaz
Paulin Bros
Baby Boyz Brass Band
Stooges Brass Band
One Mind
Panorama
The Tornados
Free Agents
Treme Brass Band
Egg Yolk Jubilee
Hot Eight Brass band
Down and Dirty


KdV FQ Cartoon

KdV FQ Cartoon

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.

 

Krewe of Freret Logo

Krewe of Freret Logo

 

Trio of Muses Shoes

Trio of Muses Shoes

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Baccawhoppa

Baccawhoppa 2 Unit Super Float

 

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

Other locations:

Clearview Mall

Pontchartrain Center, Kenner

Neurological Rehabilitation Center, Covington

Whole Food Locations (Magazine & Veterans)

Mardi Gras World

                Children’s Room, Main Library

                Algiers Regional

                Alvar Branch

                Children’s Resource Center

                Martin Luther King Branch

                Mid-City Branch

                                                                                                  Nix Branch

Forward leaning krewes like Krewe du Vieux and Chewbaccus make many of their throws by hand and use recycled materials in their throws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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