Posts tagged Krewe du Vieux
These photos are courtesy of Jack Radosta, fellow Underwear Escort for many years. Thanks very much, Jack! This year’s parade and ball were the best ever, and that is saying an awful lot. Happy Mardi Gras!!
Happy Mardi Gras! I say it often, and I’ll say it again- If you are living in New Orleans and you are not a member of a Carnival krewe, you are missing the boat on what is a seminal New Orleans experience.
The very large crowd watching our parade was tricked out in fine costumes. I’ve never seen so many costumes at our parade before. And most of them spent time on their look. Lots of complex face painting on the route and themed costumes were very popular as well. This bodes very well for what has been a dying tradition, costuming. On Fat Tuesday for example, the vast majority of folks on the parade routes are in their street clothes with no face paint. If you go to the Marigny, however, I would estimate that over half the people on the street costume on Fat Tuesday.
Not only was the parade fabulous, but once again the ball after the parade was more than magnificent. The Dumpstaphunk version of the great Mardi Gras Indian funksters, the 101 Runners, was the best Mardi Gras funk show I’ve seen in a very long time. Krewe du Vieux members know how to let their hair down and dance. Last Saturday night in the big concert room of the Trash Palace, 1,000 ball goers danced furiously to 101 Runners, it was an inspiring sight. The stellar band included Ivan Neville, June Yamagishi, and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
A big part of marching with ample throws is the connection with the audience. When parade goers ask for a throw from a krewe member and their eyes meet, a tiny bit of energy flows from the parade watcher to the krewe member. At the end of a long parade, the amount of energy aggregated charges and energizes a krewe member for a couple of days. It’s a subtle but noticeable feeling.
The satirical, adult aspect of the krewe built floats and individual throws of the 17 sub krewes adds a zaniness to the procession. The same is true of the floats, which skewer and laud political, cultural, and social trends and truths with an emphasis on the sexual. The krewe theme, Where the Vile Things Are, was a tribute to Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, the late great children’s author.
Live music can cast a spell that is palatable. When the big three of live music- the venue, the crowd, and the band all come together, a higher conscientiousness envelopes the room and is shared by the audience and band, which is the nirvana accomplishment of a wildly successful live gig.
The hard core costuming of KdV members, the very cool Trash Palace locale, and the breathtaking Mardi Gras Indian funk led by Ivan Neville and June Yamagishi adds up to the KdV ball improving markedly in 2014. The ball like the parade have been legendary in their effective party atmosphere for decades. They always have the best grass routes parade with a huge focus on historical detail that is endearing to anyone who loves New Orleans, especially the unique culture of New Orleans.
The mule-pulled handmade floats, the brass band only music hiring policy, the hard hitting, ribald satire of the best and worst of New Orleans in the floats are all from another era. The mother krewe puts out a yearly theme, and the dozen and a half sub krewes interpret that theme in their own artistic way in their own float and throws.
The weather played a big role. It was picture perfect sunny in the mid 50s when the sun went down and the venue’s lack of heat didn’t color the crowd’s reaction and make lots of people leave early from the cold.
The two most important parades of the last decade are Muses and Krewe du Vieux. These two processions have excited the public and the media like no others. Of course KdV is far older than a decade, but it’s reputation has grown exponentially over this time period. Muses is a standard parade while KdV is an alternative parade. Still they share a lot of great parade qualities. Both parades march to the beat of their own drummer, not anyone elses.
I’m an Escort for Krewe of Underwear. That position works with my drinking plan for the day. I don’t drink during the pre parade party nor during the parade. If you don’t drink for the parade, you should be an Escort.
I have a few drinks at the ball, where I let what’s left of my hair down. I always costume seriously for KdV. Generally I wear a version of my Fat Tuesday outfit, which is purple, green and gold (pgg). I generally wear a tunic, hat, mask, and cape, all pgg.
68 degrees and sunny is the forecast for my parade, the ultra cool, edgy, historical KdV. My costume is taking shape very nicely, my throws are novel for me, and I’ve reviewed all rules and regulations I’m supposed to know as a Krewe of Underwear Escort. The parade rolls through the French Quarter and Marigny at 6 pm. KdV’s theme this year is Where the Vile Things Are. Our king is wetlands restoration advocate and historian John Barry.
Check out my story on Ray Nagin’s federal corruption trial, now with the jury, here.
A bit more about my main costume. I have a furry purple and green animal jumpsuit/costume. Over that I have neon green pimp’s jacket. I have a long purple, green and gold silk scarf with a pansy design, plus a purple sheer scarf with shiny gold mini dots throughout. I’m going to cross the scarfs around my neck and down my back in a cape-like way, and secure the crossing with a Carnival colored crown pin. I have some old KdV and MOMs Ball buttons to wear on my jacket. I still need a hat and mask, but I’m going to the Costume Bazaar on Feb. 16 at the Healing Center, 2572 St. Claude Avenue.
The tune is by June Victory and the Bayou Renegades, Don’t Rock the Bow, from their release, June Victory and the Bayou Renegades.
Krewedelusion follows KdV. They have a New Orleans celebrity for their 2014 Ruler, DJ Soul Sister, aka Melissa Weber! This is a good way for a krewe to garner some free media. The Nola Defender broke the story. Queen Melissa “DJ Soul Sister” Weber is inheriting the throne from Cheeky Black, last year’s Queen. The Soul Sister is the R&B bomb! Her DJ sets are considerably hotter than many live music sets that occur before and after her set.
We are honored, announced Captain Oscar Diggs in a release, that New Orleans native and internationally renowned superstar disc jockey Melissa Weber shall be our next Ruler and shall be crowned Soul Sister #1 and Captain of New Orleans.
I’m such a huge Mardi Gras fan, I love those purple, green and gold Carnival colors. Except for a couple of exceptions, I always costume in those colors. I cannot help it- they are the only ones that will make me happy when I costume, I admit. I’ve got a super, special, all new for me costume for KdV and Fat Tuesday.
Last year, Carnival wasn’t the same to me, the first since my wife passed. This year, I feel my old Carnival mania and deep seated love returning. It feels great. I live a scant 2 blocks from St. Charles, and 1 block from Napoleon. That’s parade central! I think I’ll have a crock pot of gumbo ready all parade season. Maybe set the record for gumbo serving over 10 days.
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.
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.
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
Baby Boyz Brass Band
Stooges Brass Band
Treme Brass Band
Egg Yolk Jubilee
Hot Eight Brass band
Down and Dirty
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.
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
Pontchartrain Center, Kenner
Neurological Rehabilitation Center, Covington
Whole Food Locations (Magazine & Veterans)
Mardi Gras World
Children’s Room, Main Library
Children’s Resource Center
Martin Luther King Branch
Forward leaning krewes like Krewe du Vieux and Chewbaccus make many of their throws by hand and use recycled materials in their throws.
We truly live in the age of the democratization of Mardi Gras krewes. No longer do you have to spend a thousand dollars or much more to participate in a Mardi Gras parade (Bacchus, Endymion, Muses). The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus charges around $40 to join. My own Krewe du Vieux is around $125. This is really a fantastic development, and it opens up the thrill of belonging to a krewe to so many more New Orleanians and regional folks.
Many of these alternative krewes cost nothing to join. If you show up in costume with a musical instrument while the Krewe of Kosmic Debris is rolling, you are in. If you have a fantastic costume, the Societe de Saint Anne will welcome you.
The Mystic Krewe of Barkus is another inexpensive krewe, and it’s unique- You need a dog to participate. Barkus is a lot of fun- New Orleans is a very doggy city, and we really do get attached to our four legged friends.
Regular krewes hire float builders to build their parades. Alternative krewes generally build their floats themselves, and over time may become very good at their efforts.
Many alternative krewes consist of sub-krewes. I belong to the Krewe du Vieux, and my sub krewe is the Krewe of Underwear. Other KdV sub-krewes- Comatose, Drips and Discharges, and Seeds of Decline.
The Krewe of Cork has grown into a very substantial entity. Founded in 2000, the KoC has grown into a world-famous Mardi Gras and wine industry phenomenon. Krewe members gather on selected Fridays, usually the first Friday of each month, at restaurants throughout the area for T.G.I.C.D. (Thank Goodness It’s Cork Day).
The krewe’s two main events of the year are its Mardi Gras parade day festivities, and participation in the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Royal Street Stroll. Throughout the year, the Krewe of Cork invites members to wine dinners and other special occasions, such as road trips and wine tastings.
Then there’s Better Than Ezra’s Krewe of Rocckus. Begun in 2011, Rocckus was formed to allow BTE’s fan base a way to celebrate Carnival with the band. Rocckus includes concerts, a brunch, second line parade, private parade viewing and a cruise on the Creole Queen.