Mardi Gras Kickoff!
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is something everyone should experience at least once. But if you’re a local, chances are you’ve done the tourists idea of Mardi Gras already: drunkenly pushed through crowds so thick you can’t see your feet for a pair of beads, ducking to avoid out-of-town college girls lifting their shirts and of course the endless search for a bathroom. As all New Orleanians know: that’s not Mardi Gras.
Real Mardi Gras is a chance to get together with friends and family, to enjoy your own traditions of food and drink and all the spectacles that go along with the parades and costumes.
Locals know that Mardi Gras isn’t just a day, it’s a season that officially begins on Twelfth Night, or January 6. The always irreverent Krewe du Vieux is the first major parade to roll February 11, with more than 60 parades in neighborhoods all around town leading up to Mardi Gras day February 28. While the lore and pageantry of Mardi Gras runs as deep as the mighty Mississippi, the bottom line is, this is some party.
Here is a short list of local’s favorite parades.
*Krewe Du Vieux: The parade is set to roll at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 11th. Known for its use of satire, comedy and adult content, Krewe du Vieux, will now bring the gasps and giggles for its 30-year anniversary. Ask any born and raised local and they will tell you this is their favorite parade. It’s before the big crowds get in town for Mardi Gras and everyone hasn’t been drinking for weeks yet! It will begin in the Marigny at Franklin and Royal Street and roll along Frenchmen Street, then roll through the French Quarter, and finally end downtown at O’Keefe and Lafayette. For the best views of the parade, arrive as early as possible because of increased foot and car traffic.
*Muses: This is an all-women’s parade with the most sought after throw being the Muses shoe, which is hand decorated every year and almost impossible to acquire. Organized in 2000, the Krewe of Muses is named after the legendary daughters of Zeus. In Greek mythology, muses were patrons of the arts and sciences, as well as sources of inspiration for artists, poets, philosophers, and musicians. The parade has become one of Mardi Gras’ favorites, thanks to its humorous and biting parade themes. The parade rolls Thursday February 23, at 6:30 P.M. Uptown.
*Chewbacchus: The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is a Mardi Gras parade organization on a mission. According to their website, their mission is to, “ Save the galaxy by bringing the magical revelry of Mardi Gras to the poor, disenfranchised, socially awkward and generally weird mases who may have never had the opportunity to participate in Mardi Gras…” In short this is one strange and fun parade! A true local favorite. The parade rolls February 18, 7 P.M. at the corner of Press and Royal street.
*‘tit Rex: The 2017 them of this new local favorite is, ‘tit Rəx Takes a Nap!The parade rolls Saturday Febuary, 18 starts at 5 P.M. at the St. Roch Tavern (1200 St. Roch) and travels down St. Roch to St. Claude Avenue. According to this krewe’s website, titrexparade.com, “The world’s first Mardi Gras microkrewe, ‘tit Rəx was founded in 2008 by a group of artists, teachers, businesspeople, workers, and bon vivants. Some say it took place in a kitchen, others on a porch in Mid-City, while still others just can’t remember anything from that night” This is a great small parade to catch up with friends.
Some of the larger parades include:
*Endymion: is one of the largest float parades of the season on February 25th at 4:15 p.m. Mid-city which features around 37 floats. And if you’re trying to watch the parade in mid-city, Delgado offers car parking for $25. Something that makes Endymion special is that it’s the only parade concludes into the Mercedes Benz Superdome for a formal event, Endymion Extravaganza. It’s perfect for indoor comfortable watching and fine dining. They usually feature all-star celebrities, the best of the best marching bands, and lively unique floats.
*Bacchus: Bacchus is a lively night parade starting at 5:15 p.m. with Jim Caviezel being tapped as king of the krewe. They have signature floats every year that the natives look forward to. This year’s theme for Bacchus is “Salute to the Saints” and will showcase 21 Saints floats, fans, mascots and former players. You also don’t want to miss the Bacchus Bash block party on Feb. 25, starting at 12 p.m. It’s a free event with live music, food, and DJ’s.
*Zulu: Krewe of Zulu begins at S. Claiborne and Jackson Avenue on Mardi Gras day, bright and early at 8 a.m. This bright and brilliant parade is going with the theme of” Stop the Violence”. This is well-known for its interesting history and “golden nugget” coconut that every New Orleans native strives to obtain this special throw, so make sure you look out for it because you might be a lucky one this year!