Twelfth Night Arrives; Carnival 2016 Kicks Off!!
The Joan of Arc parade rolls in the French Quarter and the Phunny Phorty Phellows (PPP) down the St. Charles Streetcar line. The Phellows leave the Willow Streetcar Barn precisely at 7 pm and Joan of Arc parades downtown also at 7 pm. My own parade, Krewe du Vieux, rolls very early this year, since Fat Tuesday is very early, February 9.
The original PPP first paraded in the 19th-century. It followed behind REX on St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras Day and its symbol was an owl. In 1981, WYES Producer Peggy Scott Laborde and her husband Errol Laborde, along with their friends brought back the PPP name informally, tossing beads from a streetcar to herald the start of the Carnival season. Soon the streetcar krewe solidified and legitimized.
Joan of Arc parades in honor of St. Joan and New Orleans’ French cultural heritage. Here’s their route-
Twelfth Night is also the unofficial start of the King Cake season, which does seem to informally start before the New Year rolls around! A huge amount of King Cakes are sold through February 9, or Fat Tuesday 2016. Uber has gotten into the act, partnering with Haydel’s Bakery for the second year in a row. From 10 am to 2 pm on January 6, Uber app users just needed to ask for a King Cake instead of a car. Only traditional, unfilled King Cakes are available from Uber’s service.
In 3 weeks, my own krewe, Krewe du Vieux (KdV), rolls in the Marigny and French Quarter.
Marching in a parade is what living in New Orleans is all about. I’ve been in Krewe of Clones, Tucks, and now Krewe du Vieux. Mardi Gras is lots of fun as a spectator sport, but joining the parade changes things big time. The fun, comradeship and excitement of belonging to a Mardi Gras krewe cannot be beat. It’s a top drawer New Orleans experience.
From the KdV web site- The Krewe du Vieux was founded in 1987, born from the ashes of the fabled Krewe of Clones. The Clones began in 1978, based out of the Contemporary Arts Center. This ‘Art Parade’ became wildly popular for their imaginative and creative street performance art. By 1985, the Krewe of Clones had grown to 30 sub krewes and over 1,500 marchers. After the Clones imposed rules designed to create a respectable Uptown parade, Craig “Spoons” Johnson of the Krewe of Underwear and Don Marshall of Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre conspired to form a new parading Krewe. Their intent was to bring back parading in the French Quarter in the free-wheeling style of the Clones without myriad rules and expenses. Free from the constraints of decorum and reality, KdV was established as a official parade.
The next paragraph is from Wikipedia.com–
The Krewe du Vieux is perhaps simultaneously the most individualistic and the most traditional of all New Orleans parading krewes. It has no large tractor pulled floats like the larger krewes, using only old-style, small, human-drawn or mule-drawn floats interspersed with marchers on foot. It has no recorded music blaring from boom box trucks, for the Krewe du Vieux uses music only from live bands. The floats are handmade and decorated by members of the respective sub-krewes, often with themes satirizing local politics and customs, sometimes of a bawdy nature — in such aspects arguably closer to early-19th-century Carnival traditions than any other Krewe currently parading. The Krewe du Vieux is the only Krewe still allowed to parade through the French Quarter (other than some small walking Krewes on Mardi Gras Day); krewes with larger floats have been prohibited in the narrow streets of the old town since the 1970s.
Happy Mardi Gras!!!