Posts tagged Carnival in New Orleans

2014 Mardi Gras Parade Forecast!!


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

New Birth
Bone Tone
Young Fellaz
Paulin Bros
Baby Boyz Brass Band
Stooges Brass Band
One Mind
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



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 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.









New Freret Parade has Stalled Out for 2013!!


The blame game is out in full on this parade cancellation. The krewe of Freret blames none other than NOPD, our police force, now under a federal consent decree!

Krewe of Freret Logo

Krewe of Freret Logo

The krewe says they have the support of the other krewes and have arranged for the necessary floats. The Captain says the New Orleans Police Department never responded officially to the krewe’s application.

An adviser to our fine mayor, Mitch Landrieu,said the application ”fell through the cracks.” Apparently the police thought the application was for 2014, even though their enclosed check was for 2013.

1975 Silver Freret Medals

1975 Silver Freret Medals

The original Krewe of Freret started in 1953. I remember watching them on Freret St in the 1970s and 80s. In 1995, the krewe was in financial difficulties and stopped parading.

The new krewe says they will hold their ball and coronation. I’m pleased they are staying active with the plan to return to a parading krewe in 2014. The krewe’s web site says- WELCOME TO THE KREWE OF FRERET – WE CANNOT BE STOPPED!

In late 2011, seven young Loyola graduates lamented the notion of squandering hard earned money to join a formal Krewe where they knew virtually no one and would have limited input.  So rather than joining an existing Krewe, they sought to enhance Mardi Gras by creating a world class parade.

Those simple three words that utter so softly off of your lips, “Krewe of Freret”, drive Tulane and Loyola alumni to come together for the greater good of Carnival. Whereas the word ‘Freret’ was previously a division line between two campuses, the Krewe of Freret aims to unify these enthusiastic young professionals and infuse new vigor into Mardi Gras while simultaneously fanning the revitalization of the Freret corridor and her traditions.

The Krewe has received incredible support from the community, with many Freret Street business owners counted as Krewe of Freret members.





REX to Introduce New Butterfly King Float!!!

Rex Butterfly King Float, New for 2012

Rex Butterfly King Float, New for 2012

First new float for REX in 30 years, that’s quite a while. I’m talking about custom REX floats that they reuse each year, like the Jester, Boeuf Gras, etc. floats. The Butterfly King is a historic figure going back well over 100 years.

The Butterfly King, a mythical figure that symbolizes the transient nature of Mardi Gras, will be represented by a permanent float in the Rex parade, starting with this year’s procession on Feb. 21. The monarch, a tubby, bewigged individual with multicolored wings, has been used by the Rex organization in designs and invitations for 130 years. The float, which is designed to carry 24 riders, is the first permanent addition to the krewe’s Fat Tuesday parade in about 30 years, Rex archivist Stephen Hales said.

Jonathan Bertuccelli, a member of a float-building family from Viareggio, Italy, is building the float, which will feature flapping wings for the king. His father, Raul Bertuccelli, was discovered by Mardi Gras mogul Blaine Kern in the 1960s, when Kern was studying European celebrations. Bertuccelli and his family moved to New Orleans in 1977 to work with Kern.

Jonathan Bertuccelli, a member of a float-building family from Viareggio, Italy, is building the float, which will feature flapping wings for the king. His father, Raul Bertuccelli, was discovered by Mardi Gras mogul Blaine Kern in the 1960s, when Kern was studying European celebrations. Bertuccelli and his family moved to New Orleans in 1977 to work with Kern.

Viareggio, Italy Coast Line

Viareggio Coast Line

Viareggio, Italy Carnival Float

Viareggio Carnival Float of the Provocative Singer Renato Zero.

The Viareggio floats are huge, they are often taller than the buildings along the promenade. People who see them for the first time are usually impressed by their size, which was unexpected. But they are also beautiful and extremely complex. It takes about a year to make one of them. The creator is often a renowned local artist, a painter whose float carries his signature as if it were a painting or sculpture.


While the parade rolls, circling the seafront, the float is animated from within by several people who operate the mechanisms that make heads on the float turn, eyes roll, mouths open and smile, arms and legs raise, birds spread their wings, and every little detail come to life.


All Female Krewe of Nyx Will Roll in 2012!!

Mystic Krewe of Nyx

Mystic Krewe of Nyx

The first new full-fledged Carnival parade in Orleans Parish since before Hurricane Katrina, Nyx won approval from the City Council on a 6-0 vote to amend the 2012 calendar and schedule Nyx after the Druids parade on the Uptown route the Wednesday before Mardi Gras.

The city’s last new parading krewe was Morpheus in 2002, a year after Muses and the Knights of Chaos made their debuts.

From their web site:

“Three native New Orleans women always loved the traditions, pagentry, and fun of Mardi Gras.  For years they admired the floats and loved the bands.  They enjoyed how much the kids’ faces would light up when they caught stuffed or beaded treasures. The women adored how the crowds screamed to the riders  “Throw me something!”

The mystique and masquerade of Mardi Gras day filled with history and excitement, had always been the most favorite holiday of the year for the three.  The ladies rode in parades and enjoyed the Ball Masques and parties that accompanied them, but something was always missing.

The feeling of unity and originality was somewhat lacking.  So the ladies decided to create their own Mardi Gras organization and the Mystic Krewe of Nyx was born.

It’s a tradition in Mardi Gras that the names of the Krewes are usually after Gods or Goddesses in Greek or Roman mythology. Nyx was the Greek Goddess of night.  The three knew they wanted to parade at night and be the goddesses of the streets of New Orleans during their ride.

Bringing together women of diverse backgrounds and enhancing the spirit of Mardi Gras for the community is the vision for the Krewe.  Embracing a little bit of tradition, with a twist of new and fun ideas, is what makes the Krewe of Nyx so special. All women are goddesses no matter what age they are.  Every woman deserves to be adored, respected, and made to feel beautiful.”

32 full-fledged parades will roll in Orleans Parish this year, including five on the West Bank, plus five walking clubs on the uptown route on Mardi Gras.

They claim to have 280 female members so far, and are still looking for a few good new members.



The owner of the world-famous Mardi Gras World has been ordered to relinquish his title and give ownership of the float-building company to his son.

Orleans Parish Civil District Judge Reese Kern made the ruling today, forcing Blaine Kern Sr. to hand over ownership of the company to Barry Kern at a shareholders meeting April 26.

Judge Reese Kern

Judge Reese Kern

Blaine Kern Sr. founded the company more than 50 years ago and provides floats for the majority of Mardi Gras Krewes that ride during New Orleans’ carnival season, including Rex, Bacchus, Endymion, Alla, Orpheus, and Caesar.

Barry Kern filed a suit against his father Oct. 1, 2010, to evict him “from any directorial or officer position” and to appoint “a receiver to manage and/or dissolve” Blaine Kern Artists (BKA).

That lawsuit made headlines across southeast Louisiana and, and just two days later, the Times-Picayune reported that an intermediary team composed of the Captains of Endymion and Bacchus had stepped in for Blaine and Barry Kern and resolved their differences.

Six months later, Barry Kern sued his father again, claiming Blaine Kern Sr. “failed and refused to consummate the agreement.” A violation of the October agreement requires the violating party to pay $100,000 to the other party, according to the suit.

The suit alleged that Blaine Kern Sr. had agreed in part to sell his shares of the company to Barry Kern, “including payment of debts of Blaine Kern, Sr., lease of facilities owned by Blaine Kern Sr., and a lifetime consulting contract with Blain Kern Sr.”

Blaine Kern Sr. improperly acted as a manager of BKA, the suit alleged. Kern allegedly fired his other son, Brian Kern, asked for BKA to pay his personal expenses and demanded the cashier at Mardi Gras World to give him money from the cash register.

The suit claimed “Blaine Kern Sr. has no right to exercise any managerial control over BKA. “The agreements between Barry and Blaine Kern were arranged by Owen “Pip” Bennan, the captain of the Mardi Gras krewe Bacchus, the suit said.

The meetings resulted in a seven-point letter of intent and a four-point agreement, which essentially transferred control of BKA from father to son.  Soon after the agreement was announced, a recorded offer of settlement was filed in Orleans Parish on Oct. 5, according to court documents. The case remains active under Judge Michael Bagneris.

The original suit stated Barry Kern is seeking control of BKA because his father, 83, has acted under the influence of his fourth wife, Holly Brown, who is nearly 50 years younger than him.

The October suit alleged that Blaine Kern’s spending has made BKA “technically insolvent” and that the company has bounced payroll checks to employees. It also claims that Blaine Kern named Brown as co-captain and treasurer of Blaine Kern’s Krewe of Halloween in the Boo Carre, which has failed to make timely payments on equipment and materials provided by BKA.

The suit also makes the claim that Blaine Kern improperly fired Barry Kern, who was named president of BKA in 1995 after successfully running similar companies in Europe, Las Vegas and Orlando. Barry Kern has since resigned as president even though the suit claims Blaine Kern had no authority to fire his son.

Brown is not mentioned in the most recent suit filed by Barry Kern.

New Orleans attorneys Randall Smith, Stephen Gele and Melissa Desormeaux are representing Kern.

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