Posts tagged Krewe of Muses
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.
Last year’s Parade of the Year, Muses, has taken a step back, as their 2012 floats lacked first rate execution. Blaine Kern didn’t do his usual excellent work for a relatively new super krewe. The floats moved so quickly it was difficult to get a good look.
Their own floats sparkled as usual (also made by Kern). Super krewes draw a huge audience, which often brings out the boorish behavior in many hard drinking spectators, as they jostle the crowd in pursuit of Muses’ vaunted logoed throws.
Not too long ago, Muses was a new krewe that drew much smaller crowds. The sheer number of unique throws, memorable floats and biting satire hadn’t caught on yet. Any ordinary Joe could catch a shoe back then. Those days are way over now.
Muses throws were not anything special for 2012. Check out the YouTube video above, that is one cool fan!! I caught it several years ago. I’m waiting for another out-of-the-box throw.
Their throws included a number of new logoed items, including a band-aid box; a coin purse on a lanyard; a bottle opener/flashlight on a bead and a floating liquid pen. The most original of those throws is the floating liquid pen. That’s a fun writing tool!
I rate Muses number 3 for 2012.
Number 2 is REX, the King of Carnival. They are the oldest daytime parade and still roll on wooden wagon wheels.
REX is number 2 for their historic use of wagon wheels, plus several other important factors. It was a perfect day, and REX is a daytime parade. Blaine Kern builds this parade, and it’s their number 1 showcase daytime parade. The paint job was gorgeous! Kudos to the Kern painting team.
REX introduced their new Butterfly King float for 2012.
REX had several good bands, including the United States Army and the Tulane University Marching Bands. Monroe’s High School Marching Band delivered a strong performance as well. By the time REX rolls on Fat Tuesday, most high school bands are unable to march anymore due to marching limits imposed by the City Council.
The floats looked terrific, as did the krewe’s costumes. The throws were typically REX with a couple of exceptions- they had a fancy cloisonne pin celebrating the new Butterfly King float and re-introduced the plush crown they first threw a few years ago.
Number 1 for 2012 goes to Hermes!! They had it all together in 2012, and that’s a very tall order.
Their bands were top notch- St. Augustine, Xavier Prep, L.B. Landry, McDonogh 35 and several out-of-state bands all marched with Hermes.
Hermes’ throws were improved. They threw plastic Hermes goblets, a light up Hermes headband with plastic wings (D’Etat threw the same headband in purple with the D’Etat logo instead of wings), light up medical caduceus beads, blinky winged shoe beads and a light up ball. A nice throw this year was a crawfish/centipede stuffed toy in Mardi Gras colors. I’m not sure if this an official Hermes toy or a generous generic one.
The floats were top of the line old fashioned, marked by striking colors and expressive prop figures, wonderfully detailed, and an abundance of bouncing paper ornaments, including flowers, grapes, snowflakes and more. The floats moved at a reasonable pace and the traditional flambeaux were interspersed with the floats as were the Lieutenants on horseback, who dispensed purple riding doubloons.
As per tradition, the Hermes captain leads the parade in full regalia on a white horse.
Special Mention goes to the Mystic Krewe of Proteus for the float work of Royal Artists. They have a web site here, it apparently hasn’t been updated for a couple of years, as they are Bordeaux Street uptown and the site lists the North Shore.
I think Emily Gras was one of the coolest Mardi Gras events ever! This child was traumatized by stupid drunk parade goers, and after Mom blogs about it, BOOM! A group of Muses members along with some 610 Stompers and other marching groups invited Emily and her mom to the Muses Den for some first class treatment and a ton of great throws.
A happy ending for this child, but there is a dark side to the Carnival parade world that received a lot of press due to this incident, including a big story on the front page of the Times-Picayune and TV news coverage by the local stations. The Huffington Post spread the story worldwide.
There is a huge amount of underage drinking at the parades. This has to be the biggest underage public drinking party in New Orleans. Kids don’t hold their liquor very well, leading to a lot of boorish parade behavior.
If you are handicapped or elderly, plenty of parade goers can’t wait to step in front of you for a better vantage point. They really don’t mean to block your view of the parade, they don’t think of that. They are just doing their thing at the Mardi Gras. My wife attends parades in her scooter. She’s the invisible woman, that’s our joke about how overzealous parade attendees treat her.
Then there’s the haughty krewe members and their exclusive throwing habits. They throw to the pretty young things on the parade route, and to children. If you are any age other than those two groups, most krewe members wouldn’t throw to you.
Muses members reported to me that as their parade has grown to super krewe status in the last few years, bigger crowds have turned out and bad manners on the parade route have grown exponentially. That makes the ultimate New Orleans experience, joining a krewe, not as much fun as it should be. In a perfect world, krewe members would be egalitarian but that doesn’t mean they will be. Booze may affect their judgement considerably. As the throws have become more exclusive, bad behavior seems to grow. Only the longest beads and the more exclusive throws count.
Reserving spaces on the neutral ground and side walks has developed into a fine art. Dozens of ladders with kiddie seats are set up right next to one another, making an impenetrable barrier. Huge tarps are used to hold big spaces as well. Though this behavior is not allowed by the police, they don’t enforce this at all.
In many respects, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is growing with many positive developments. The democratization of Mardi Gras means more people can get into krewes for less money.The greening of Mardi Gras is happening on many levels, from the green throws of the Giacona Company to the growing bead recycling effort and the ARC Recycling Parade Vehicle. VerdiGras is a Carnival Krewe dedicated a greener cleaner Mardi Gras.
I’m very hopeful about the future of Carnival, but troubled by some of recent negative changes.
Obviously, Jay Banks’ challenge rocked the Zulu Establishment to its very foundations. Just as quickly, Jay Banks dropped his challenge, so we won’t ever find out what became of those missing absentee ballots.
On Sunday, June 5, Zulu members also ratified James May 29 election.
Banks has run unsuccessfully for Zulu king twice in the past.
The eBay auction is OVER, the following is from the original Muses ad on eBay.
ARE YOU READY TO ROLL WITH THE MUSES IN 2011???
Did you hear the membership was closed and the wait-list was over 1,000 women long?
Attention wannabe Goddesses! This is a once in a lifetime chance for a woman to ride in the 2011 Krewe of Muses Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans on Thursday, March 3, 2011. Join 872 riding Muses for the annual and much anticipated parade… and jump ahead of the 1,000+ Muses on the wait list!
Ask anyone who has rolled with the Muses…It’s absolutely Inspirational!
The minimum bid for the ride is $1,000 and the rider must be a woman over the age of 18. Prize includes priceless ride plus costume, mask, entry to the riding-members-only pre-party beginning at 2:00 p.m. and the (always amazing and much anticipated) post-parade aMUSEment Party, plus a small package of throws (not enough for the ride.) Throws, which cost approximately $1,000, must be purchased separately and are available through the Krewe of Muses.
PARADE FOR A CAUSE! The recipient of the proceeds is the St. Bernard Project, which has been working tirelessly to help solve the enduring housing and mental health needs in the New Orleans area resulting from Katrina and, more recently, the oil spill. Embracing an all-under-one-roof model, the mission of SBP, a nonprofit, community-based organization, is to remove physical, mental, and emotional barriers for vulnerable families, senior citizens and disabled residents who are struggling to recover from the devastation and trauma caused by these disasters. SBP serves those most in need by rebuilding homes, providing a free high-quality mental health and wellness care clinic, and job training in residential construction. SBP takes donated funds, materials, and energy and puts them to work with efficacy and speed.
For tax purposes, we value this item at $770. Any excess amount paid may be tax-deductible. However, you should consult your tax professional.
Make your Mardi Gras Muses fantasies come true!!!
100% of the final sale price will support St. Bernard Project.
About this nonprofit:
The mission of the St. Bernard Project is to remove barriers for families who wish to return home in St. Bernard Parish, a community that was inundated by flood waters after Hurricane Katrina. Primarily we achieve our mission through our Rebuilding Program. In 8-12 weeks of volunteer labor for about $15,000 we can rebuild a family’s home. To date we have helped 206 families rebuild and move back into their homes with support from over 12,000 volunteers.