Posts tagged St Bernard Parish
Sad day indeed when the former mighty Queens of St. Bernard Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Shangri-La, ceases to exist as a parading Krewe!
My family had a real blast during Shangri-La’s heyday in St. Bernard, with over 1,000 Krewe members riding in a huge parade with around 38 units. I’m talking about the mid 1980s, when the Krewe was at their mightiest. By 1982, Shangri-La was the largest woman’s organization in the history of Carnival in New Orleans.
In another Mardi Gras life, I would see around 40 parades per season. I had my own crazy Mardi Gras posse- My wife Meg, her daughter Sharon, Sharon’s friend Tara, Tara’s brothers Hank and Eddie and Eddie’s friend Bruce. We’d go see the parades in New Orleans very early, then hit St. Bernard, or Metairie, which had more parades in the 80s. We’d go to Slidell, the West Bank, anywhere to catch a local parade. We’d catch some parades at the start, some in the middle, and some at the end. Fun, fun, fun was had by all.
We used to watch Shangri-La twice, once on St Bernard Highway, and then on Judge Perez Drive. You catch way more throws that way.
One year I took the Posse out to St. Bernard for the then fabulous Shangri-La. On the way out, the skies opened up and it began to rain cats and dogs. We persevered, as did the parade. It was warm that evening, we were young, and didn’t mind getting soaked to catch a few beads.
The parade crowd dissipated, and the route was almost devoid of any spectators. The krewe noticed we were almost the only folks out watching, and they dumped throws on us to show their appreciation. That is my wettest Mardi Gras Parade story, and I’ll never forget how generous the krewe was that night. It was the most throws we ever caught, and just about the most fun our posse ever had at the parades.
Shangri-La started in 1973 and paraded in Chalmette until 2000, when they moved to uptown to St. Charles Avenue. The krewe started admitting men into their ranks at this time.
St. Bernard was especially hard hit during Hurricane Katrina 5 years ago, receiving almost 25 feet of water, the most in the Metro Area. The population was slow to return, which severely impacted Shangri-La’s membership. Many members returned for the parade from out of town. 2 years ago, the krewe adjusted to the diminished membership by successfully transforming the street parade into a French Quarter carriage parade.
In 2010, a 45 unit parade ushered in Mardi Gras on the eve of Super Bowl 44. This was a very exciting time in New Orleans, and their final French Quarter stroll was fun.
During a July meeting, the Shangri-La Board voted unanimously to become a Social Club and continue their philanthropic plans. After 37 years, the once fabulous Shangri-La Carnival Club ceases parading. They live on the web at Krewe of Shangri-La.
Jan 22, 2010
There won’t be a parade in St. Bernard Parish on Mardi Gras this year after all.
The Krewe of Gladiators, which was trying to restore its parade, as well as the tradition of a Carnival Day parade in the parish, said it won’t roll.
It was too difficult to attact enough riders and krewe officials didn’t want to cause anyone problems by having to possibly cancel the ride closer to Mardi Gras, which is Feb. 16.
“I thought we had an excellent shot. But I was not going to put on a parade if we couldn’t do something at least halfway decent,” Krewe Captain Bill Egan said Friday.
Egan in recent months had been pushing for new members to join the Gladiators organization so that it could parade on Fat Tuesday. A route had been chosen and cleared with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office. Egan had said the parade would start early, so that people could still make parades in other areas later in the day.
Gladiators was forced to cancel last year’s ride, as well, due to financial problems and a lack of riders. Egan said the krewe this year wanted to restore the old St. Bernard Parish tradition of having a parade on Fat Tuesday. The parish hasn’t had a Carnival Day parade in nearly 20 years.
But in the end, Egan said there wasn’t time to get enough riders to make it worth while.
“Everybody’s watching their nickels right now – I understand that,” he said. “It’s just a sign of the times.”