The Knights of Babylon ran last night, a beautiful evening for Carnival 2017 parading. Babylon was originally called the Jesters Club. St. Charles was packed with parade goers, of all shapes, ages and sizes. We had moved our location from Harmony Street to St. Andrews St, Neutral ground side. Babylon’s theme for 2017 was The Lure and Legends of Gold. Babylon started in 1939, so they are among the top 5 oldest New Orleans krewes. That’s tradition. As they were rolling down St. Charles, I could tell they weren’t all old men, but a cross section of ages. Their floats are of traditional size.
Babylon had a bunch of light up throws, including a light up streetcar light up medallion, a purple bearded man light up bead, and a plastic fake wrist band that states on the plastic dial, Carnival Begins When Babylon Rolls.
Light Up Babylon Throws
All three parades occupy different niches in the Mardi Gras Orleans Parish Parade hierarchy. Babylon is from the old guard. Chaos is a combination of the new and the old, a unique niche, and Muses are the founders of the women’s super krewe niche that now has other players including NYX.
While Babylon is an old fashioned parade, Chaos is even more old fashioned. They ride on wooden wagon wheels, like REX and Proteus (see photo). That’s because Chaos membership is comprised of former Knights of Momus members. Comus and Momus stopped parading decades ago when the political climate for closed all white men’s clubs went south. The Chaos float den is the former Momus den. They threw float specific cards, doubloons, light up swords and other mostly traditional throws.
Muses is one of Carnival’s largest parades with well over 1,000 krewe members. They are named after the Muses in mythology. They have changed Mardi Gras for the good with their too many to mention sexy, ribalt dancing groups; they broke a Carnival glass ceiling as the first true all women Super Krewe; and their hand decorated Muses shoes have quickly become a key Mardi Gras signature throw.
Muses were founded in 2000 by Staci Rosenberg, and first paraded during Mardi Gras in 2001. Every year, Muses produces an awesome variety of logoed throws. The krewe is very limited in what else they can purchase outside the krewe and without the Muses logo.
Thongs Throw! Weird Throw!
Parades start again tomorrow with Druids and NYX. NYX has worked hard to establish their own icon throw, similar to the Krewe of Muses Shoe and the Zulu Coconut. The NYX Purse is a hand decorated purse or small hand bag. Their krewe has grown substantially the last few year as their parade presence has grown. Looking forward to their parade tomorrow night.
Working on my purple, green and gold costume for Fat Tuesday. Always celebrate Fat Tuesday in the official colors of Mardi Gras. Though Blaine Kern Artists remain the largest of the float builders, Royal Artists is my personal favorite. I catch Zulu on Jackson Avenue, then head to Harmony and St. Charles for REX. After REX I follow the truck parades downtown, and meet my girlfriend Sue Repasky. We ate at Mandina’s later that afternoon, and it was very good.
I’ve been in New Orleans for a long time, now, and I’m excited about Mardi Gras like I was brand new to it. There is something about the combination of bands, floats, crowds, ambiance, friends, family, and tradition that makes me very happy.Happy Mardi Gras!
The men and women in blue, our own New Orleans Police Department, aka NOPD, are the coolest cats on the parade route. Virtually nothing nonplusses them. They have seen it all on St. Charles Avenue during Carnival literally. They almost always have time to answer a question from a tourist or local. Most often they have smiles on their faces, except when something goes awry on the parade route and they must intercede.
Police in New Orleans are in what’s called Mardi Gras mode. No days off until the day after Fat Tuesday, and all shifts are 12 hours. That is a stressful combination. Other police forces in the metro area are coming to help out. State police, Probation and Parole, Kenner, St John the Baptist, St Bernard and Jefferson parish police on the way. That’s a lot of police.
I like to wish the police a good day or night on the parade route, as I have a high regard as a general rule for NOPD during Carnival. They are working while we are playing, and on really beautiful days like today, that’s not so easy. One thing about New Orleanians during Mardi Gras, they like to drink a beer or a cocktail while socializing out on the parade route.
Other situations can develop quickly during Carnival- float breakdowns are a possibility. People joining the parade ad hoc for the sheer fun of it (that’s not allowed). People getting run over by a float or kicked by a horse (these are fairly rare occurrences).
There is a Mardi Gras fugitive roundup going on, just this weekend 34 people were arrested for 54 offenses.
Those little black squares on their chests in both pictures are the cameras that record everything that goes down. That’s a good thing. Of course, the cameras can be turned off, and don’t always work.
Rolled in Krewe du Vieux’s Krewe of Underwear last Saturday through the French Quarter, Marigny, and CBD. Ate excellent tacos with my Kazoozie Floozie girlfriend, Sue Repasky. Had more fun last night than is humanly possible. Participating in a Mardi Gras parade is the most fun you will have all year. And the fun goes on all day. All KdV floats are designed and completely built by krewe members. It’s a pain in the ass but a labor of love. Seeing your disgusting, ribald designs come to 3D, animated life is very gratifying. The public loves our floats for targeting society’s worst nightmares. This year, it was all Donald J. Trump. He’s an amazingly easy target. There were lots of drawings of Trump, his name was mentioned throughout the parade, and there was quite a few paper mache trumps. He was depicted giving and getting golden showers and getting assaulted in various ways numerous times.
The Krewe du Vieux’s seventeen sub-krewes will each present their own interpretations of the theme. Sub-krewes include the Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of Space Age Love, Krewe of Underwear, Seeds of Decline, Krewe of Mama Roux, Krewe of L.E.W.D., Krewe of Drips and Dis- charges, Krewe of K.A.O.S., Knights of Mondu, T.O.K.I.N., Krewe Rue Bourbon, Krewe de C.R.A.P.S., Mystic Krewe of Spermes, Mystic Krewe of Comatose, Mystic Krewe of Inane, Krewe du Mishigas, and Krewe of sPANk.
This year the King in absentia was well known artist Bunny Mathews, who is suffering from cancer and couldn’t march with the krewe. One of his most famous creations is the Vic and Nat’ly cartoon. I hope your health improves soon, Bunny!
Rolling with a parade is truly the most fun I have all year, and I like to have fun. Handing out throws, dancing to the funky brass band marching with us, shaking a lot of hands and screaming, Happy Mardi Gras is a blast every New Orleanian should experience.