Posts tagged Jefferson Parish
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.
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.
Two West Bank krewes would receive a total of $25,000 from Jefferson Parish for this year’s Carnival parades under agreements the Parish Council is expected to approve Wednesday. But a separate item on the agenda would ban such expenditures in the future.
The Krewe of Alla would receive $15,000 while Cleopatra would get $10,000 in hotel and motel tax revenue under resolutions proposed by Councilman Chris Roberts, who has steered parish funding to West Bank krewes since 2005.
The practice would be banned under an ordinance proposed by Councilman Byron Lee, who wants to prohibit the parish from entering into such cooperative endeavor agreements with krewes, festivals and social clubs.
Lee did not immediately return a call seeking comment on his rationale for the restrictions.
Roberts said he expects Lee’s proposal to be deferred, saying it has “no chance of passing as it is written.”
“I’m not sure where he’s coming from with this,” Roberts said. “This would eliminate the Gretna Heritage Festival, the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo and pretty much all other tourism-related events that have received parish funds.”
He also said Lee’s proposal conflicts with a state law regulating how hotel and motel tax revenue can be spent.
“You can’t take that money and pave a street or make drainage improvements,” Roberts said. “It has to be used to promote tourism and economic development.”
Roberts said West Bank krewes have received similar amounts in recent years from his district’s roughly $100,000 share of the tax revenue. He said the Krewe of Choctaw has not yet approached him for funding this year.
from Susan Edwards / Eyewitness News, firstname.lastname@example.org
METAIRIE, La. – Call it the thrill of the ride or a chance of a lifetime, but joining your favorite krewe and riding along during carnival season may no longer be as difficult or as exclusive as you may think.
Video: Watch the Story
Mardi Gras expert Errol Laborde said the times are changing.
“I think the image to a lot of people is it’s a big, exclusive deal, but that’s hardly the case,” Laborde said.
While some parading organizations are invitation only, there are several who are scrambling to attract anyone interested in membership and an unforgettable experience.
“With some of the krewes, you’re seeing more of an effort to find riders and it may or may not be totally related to the economy,” Laborde said.
Because of financial hardships, some krewes have feared 2010 could be a tough year to keep old members and attract new ones. Laborde said it’s simply too soon to tell if that’s the case; however, there are some unusual advertising techniques seeking the attention of interested riders.
Krewe of Argus in Jefferson Parish has been rolling on Fat Tuesday for more than three decades. Co-Captain Lawrence Chehardy said membership is at 400 right now, which is average for this time of year. They’re hoping that mass mailers will only boost interest and membership for the upcoming carnival season.
“Argus is a business, it’s a Mardi Gras krewe, but it’s a business. We have to watch how we spend money and certainly in these economic times it impacts everybody, but that said, we’re always looking for new members and new blood,” Chehardy said.
Chehardy said that over the years their website has contributed to successful parades, but the flyers were sent to residents along the Veterans Memorial Boulevard corridor as an added way to generate interest.
“We’ve gotten riders from outside Jefferson Parish, from out of country who have gone to the internet, did a search and found the Krewe of Argus and we’ve had them ride with us,” Chehardy said.