Greetings, spirited subjects! As we embark
upon the second week of all the magnificence, extravagance and decadence that
is Carnival 2004, I, Rex DukeTM, your master of Mardi Gras merriment, am privileged
to again convey to you all the luster, liveliness and lampoonery we can anticipate
from upcoming parades. The slew of processions that proudly paraded last week
only whetted Rex's appetite for the even more grand affairs to come. So that
you will miss nary a bead nor a doubloon, here are the essential elements of
the latter Carnival parades in all their posh possibilities. Onward, costumed
cognoscenti, as we hie toward the zenith of Fat Tuesday!
TUESDAY, FEB. 17
Arch Druid: Secret
Throws: Three types of doubloons, Druids cups, light-up Druids beads, bobble-head
figures, giant acorns
The Krewe of Ancient Druids will once again bring its own brand of political
satire with more than 250 riders in the classic Druid garb, accompanied by dancing
flambeaux. This old-school Carnival parade will also feature 10 marching bands,
25 flag carriers and numerous horse groups.
Theme: "Royal Dreams"
King: Antoni Willcox
Queen: Karin Toribio
Throws: Morpheus medallion beads, stuffed crescent moons engraved with Morpheus,
twist beads, aluminum doubloons, special 2004 captain's doubloons
This year's theme centers around classical notions of grandeur such as Caesar's
dreams of conquest and Montezuma's dreams of revenge. With double the membership
of last year, the Krewe of Morpheus aims to please, featuring only classic single-deck,
old-style floats and a dozen local bands such as George Washington Carver High
School. The Marine Corps Band will lead the parade.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 18
King: Gregory A. Thurhner
Queen: Julie Dale Haydel Throws: Frisbees, two kinds of cups featuring Saturn
and 21st anniversary crests, Saturn light-up beads, Saturn "Fat Lady" beads,
planet beads, nine kinds of doubloons, cup holders, mini bobble-head dolls
Saturn plans to make up for last year's unfortunate rain-out with a big, bold
parade. Special units include a New Orleans Police Chief float for grand marshal
Eddie Compass, and one honoring South Louisiana military members who served
or are serving in Iraq. That float, which includes a replica of George W. Bush,
will carry soldiers' family members, all unmasked (Saturn plans to videotape
the parade and send it to the soldiers overseas.) There's also the signature
"Fat Lady" float and a new king's float, both hand-built with papier mache.
The parade includes 16 marching bands, flambeaux and "Walking Heads."
This year, the 660-woman-strong Krewe of Muses will honor Thalia, the muse of
comedy (represented in the parade by local actress/comedienne Becky Allen) and
introduce two new floats. The "Shoe Float" will feature a 20-foot-long high-heeled
pump covered in fiber-optic lighting and carrying surprise special guests. The
"Bathtub Float" will feature Muses enjoying a bubble bath.
Theme: "Lifestyles of the Rich" Floats: 20 King: Dan Civello Queen: Melanie
Trager Throws: King and queen 30th-anniversary doubloons, Captain doubloons
with 30th-anniversary crest, beads
This year marks the Krewe of Thor's 30th anniversary and they're out to show
it with 544 riders and seven marching bands, including West Jefferson High School.
The parade features a new captain's float and a new king and queen's float commemorating
the event. Look for such other new floats as "Owning a Horse in the Kentucky
Derby" and "Champagne Flight to Europe," featuring a giant champagne bottle
in front and an airplane in back. Other float highlights include "Owning a NASCAR"
and "Going to the Bullfights in Spain."
This Uptown favorite will feature 210 members and a fleet of old-line, traditional
floats. St. Augustine High School's marching band will lead with the Marine
Band in tow. Look for such signature floats as "The Hanging Gardens of Babylon,"
"The Creole Cottage," "The Streetcar," "The Tower of Babel" and "Jester's Jazz."
The rest of the floats will be unveiled that night and follow a secret theme
based on literary or musical classics.
The Krewe of Chaos again intends to dazzle onlookers with a satirically themed
parade featuring 200 riders, 20 horse-mounted lieutenants and flambeaux. The
floats are built from 125-year-old wooden-wheel cotton wagons with 11 bands
Location: Metairie Theme: "A Knight's
Tale" Floats: 19
King Arthur: Pendelton "Penny" Larsen
Queen Guenevere: Debbie Ann Robert
Throws: Stuffed vinyl swords, plastic light-up swords, baseball hats, coloring
books, cups, frisbees, stuffed animals
The Krewe of Excalibur adds a new neon motorcycle troupe to its 10-band, six-dance-team
lineup. The parade will feature knights on horseback with real chain mail and
maids in plumed collars. Look for ornate floats such as "Dink," representing
King Arthur pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone. All children riding
in the parade will wear medieval costumes such as knight and prince garb.
FRIDAY, FEB. 20
Theme: "Pandora: The All Gifted One"
Queen: Christine Baudier
Throws: Long white pearl beads, medallion beads, cups with parade theme, flying
discs and plush dolls with Hermes crest
Hermes honors that great boxer Pandora by telling her tale with such floats
as "Aphrodite Blesses Pandora With Beauty," "Hermes Endows Pandora With Curiosity"
and "Hera Grants Pandora Cunning and Guile." Marching between the floats will
be 25 bands from as far away as Illinois. Watch for the King's float, the first
new one in 50 years, crafted by Royal Artists and hearkening back to the style
of the mid-1920s. It features two 15-foot-long, 6-foot-high Venetian-winged
Le Krewe D'Etat
Throws: Gargoyle medallion beads, gargoyle stuffed animals (two sizes), blinking-eye
skeleton-head beads, cups, doubloons of purple, green and gold
The Duke has always appreciated Le Krewe d'Etat's mischievous ways, and hence
will respect its privacy and let you find out the parade's theme Friday like
everyone else. But two things are certain: Le Krewe's theme will no doubt capture
the spirit of topical humor (last year's: "Tales Told By Idiots"), and no one
is safe from its razor-sharp wit. The parade will feature 16 marching bands,
including old favorite St. Augustine, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps marching
Theme: "Broadway/Show Stoppers"
Number of Floats: 18
King: James C. Oncale
Queen: Brenda K. Chetta
Throws: Doubloons, cups, lighted beads, medallion beads, cozies, stuffed vinyl
eagle crest, vinyl footballs
This 280-member krewe will roll for its 28th year sporting its traditionally
custom-made outfits tailored by the krewe members themselves -- no outsourcing
here! Aquila will pay tribute to scads of Broadway show tunes, with floats honoring
The King and I, Chicago, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,
The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Cats, Beauty and the Beast,
and more. Maids and dukes will ride with their enormous, detailed, three-dimensional
collars as well as their traditional head pieces. Joining in the celebration
with be as many as 14 marching bands from New Orleans and the surrounding area.
Knights of Jason
Theme: "Walkin' Through New Orleans"
King: Jules Crovetto Jr.
Queen: Juli Jelenko
Throws: King and queen medallion beads, light-up beads, cups, yard dogs, and
the krewe mascot KOJI (for "Knights of Jason Inc."), a plush, 20-inch dragon
The Duke well remembers when this krewe rolled in Harahan back in the day and
welcomes the return (this time in Metairie) of the Knights of Jason after a
30-year hiatus, thanks to the Kirkwood family. Melody Kirkwood rode with her
father Bert Cook as a child and together with husband Turner Kirkwood Jr. and
son Turner Kirkwood III will ride again with Cook on Friday. (All are officers.)
This 200-member krewe will honor New Orleans streets, with pirates riding on
"Pirate's Alley," the Superdome profiled on "Poydras Street," and good old Mr.
Bingle represented on "Canal Street." (We'll let you see for yourself what's
on "Bourbon Street.") The grand marshal is Jesuit grad and former Major Leaguer
SATURDAY, FEB. 21
Theme: "A Touch of Class"
King: John Hutton "Chappie" Chapman
Queen: Star Renee Chapman
Throws: Mini bobble-head dolls, footballs, cups, Iris theme beads, champagne
flutes, magnetic animals, stuffed animals, 3-D medallion beads, Iris stuffed
Grand marshals John Oswald and Chip Kelmell are among the handful of men allowed
to parade with the more than 900 women of Iris, formed in 1917 and now the oldest
and largest ladies' organization of Carnival. All costumes are specially tailored
to individual floats that reflect the krewe's classy theme, including "The Grand
Prix" "The Zoo to Do" and the "Nutcracker Ballet." Most of the 20 bands hail
from out of state.
Location: West Bank
Theme: "N.O.M.T.O.C.'s Book of Fairy Tales"
King: Roy L. McCorkle
Queen: LaToya Renee Harvey
Throws: Signature "Jug Man" dolls, footballs, earrings, keychains, bottle openers,
Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan, the 2004 grand marshal, will
ride the captain's float for "New Orleans' Most Talked Of Club." The 35th annual
parade includes eight bands, 10 horse posses, and 15 dance groups. Theme floats
include "The Ginger Bread Man," Old King Cole," "Puss 'n Boots," and "Heidi."
Theme: "New Orleans Politics: A Mardi Gras Fairy Tale"
King: Rudy Ormond
Queen: Lelia S. Peyronnin
Throws: Panties, bras, toy toilets, stuffed dolls, lighted and non-lighted medallion
beads, wooden and metal doubloons, footballs, flying discs, bean bags, megaphones
The only parade led by a float with an open-air toilet seat, the Tucks procession
has grown to 101 units since Loyola University business student Robert Reichert,
then 18, started the krewe in 1969. Marching bands, motorcycle clubs, and horse
posses fill out the parade's ranks. This year's theme pokes fun at City Hall
with such title floats as "Funky Tucks Runs for Mayor" and "Nagin's Reagan."
Theme: "Saturday Night at the Movies, The Sequel"
King: David Lee Goodson
Queen: Megan Elise Giardina
Throws: Medallion beads with streetcar, light-up beads, three-tone beads, inflatable
doll and squeaky toy characters, footballs, flying discs
Endymion commemorates its return to its modified Mid-City route with special
medallion beads and a Samedi (Saturday) Gras celebration starting at noon at
Orleans Avenue and Olympia Street. Country-western singer Leann Rimes, the featured
performer and grand marshal, leads the 2,150-member krewe and 130 unit-parade,
founded in 1966. Float titles reflect the overall theme and include "The Matrix
Trilogy," "Moulin Rouge," "Lord of the Rings" and "Spiderman."
This all-female krewe named after the Egyptian goddess celebrates its 32nd year
with 250 members. Local high school marching bands and dance teams will accompany
floats decorated in a sugar-sweet theme. Some of the succulent floats scheduled
to appear are "Cotton Candy," "Teddy Grahams," "Peppermint Sticks," "Licorice
Whips" and "Lucky Charms."
SUNDAY, FEB. 22
Theme: "Heroes and Villains"
King: John Lee Jr.
Queen: Stephanie Meyers
Throws: Purple, green and gold Okeanos medallions, beads, cups
The Krewe of Okeanos celebrates its 55th year with a first -- 2004's parade
will be the first time it will roll with women members. Okeanos' theme features
heroes and villains from film and literature, as well as some cheeky references
to heroes and villains of the everyday variety. The 250-member krewe will ride
on floats honoring such heroes as "Wonder Woman," "Popeye," "Superman" and "Firemen."
If villains are more your speed, there's always "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" or
Theme: "Animators and Illustrators"
King: Paul Trapani
Queen: Ashley Doyle
Throws: Mini bobble-head Thoth dolls, feather boas, squeeze bottles, cups, five
types of medallion beads with Thoth's Egyptian insignia
This popular Uptown parade will feature the history of comics dating back to
1918, with New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass riding as a featured celebrity.
Local marching bands, dance troupes, and musicians will strut alongside floats
titled "Look Up in the Sky" (Superman), "Here He Comes to Save the Day" (Mighty
Mouse), and other floats depicting such characters as Felix the Cat and SpongeBob
Mystic Knights of Adonis
Theme: "Adonis' Childhood Memories"
King: Al Dugas Jr.
Queen: Gayle Ponthier
Throws: Adonis logo beads, Adonis cups, plush animals, toys
This krewe is celebrating its sixth birthday with a kid-friendly theme and fun
floats representing nursery rhymes from Mother Goose, including "Lots of Jacks"
(as in, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill ... you get the picture); "Fuzzy
Friends," and "Pie A La Mode." Clarence "Frogman" Henry rides as grand marshal
accompanied by marching bands, horse groups and motorcycle clubs.
Theme: "The Things We Do For Love"
King: Stephen E. Farkas
Queen: Natalie Newton
Throws: Logo medallion beads, 3-D beads, logo potato chips, cups, beanie toys
including the heart-shaped "Mid-City Man," flying discs
This staple krewe of 71 years will again roll Uptown instead of in the neighborhood
for which it's named, due to ongoing construction in Mid-City. But the parade
promises all New Orleans residents a worthy trip with a fun spin on an old theme.
The 200-member krewe will feature floats depicting themes of "Dear John," "Love
Cruise," "I Ching, You Chang," "Showered With Gifts," "Make A Wish," "I Went
to A Fortune Teller" and "Whodoo Voodoo."
Theme: "Bacchus' Magical Mystical Tour"
King: Elijah Wood
Throws: Plush animals of purple, green and gold with Bacchus sash, Bacchus medallion
beads, individual float theme beads, light-up beads with clusters of grapes
and bottles of Bacchus wine
The Bacchus krewe attempts to outdo itself in its 36th year with 30 bands (one
for each float) and a Mardi Gras first: all 1,250 members will wear lighted
costumes, with officers in lighted capes. Alongside the beloved faces of Bacchagator
and Bacchasaurus, Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood reigns as celebrity
king. Floats are depicted with a classic theme, one befittingly entitled "Hobbits
of the Shire." Other floats are "Gnomes of the Forests," "Call of the Siren"
and "Medusa." There could be more celebrity sightings, as a number of Wood's
co-stars from the LOTR trilogy have been invited to ride along with the
Theme: "Legends and Lore"
King: Kurt Joseph
Queen: Tanya Phillips
Throws: Footballs, medallions, beads, cups
Napoleon's 300 krewe members will bring parade-goers into a realm of fantasy
and urban myths, riding on floats depicting fantastic creatures such as "Vampires,"
"Ghosts," and "Genies of the Lamp." Five jazz bands, six ladies' groups, and
11 marching units from local high schools will help carry the 24-year-old krewe
down the Metairie route.
MONDAY, FEB. 23
Throws: Handmade, hand-strung glass beads in the style of traditional original
Mardi Gras beads
The title float will have a new, detailed depiction of the first tableau of
Proteus, based on a mythological 25-foot fish that the first Proteus king rode
in 1882. In a nod to the krewe's long and storied history, riders will throw
retro Mardi Gras beads that are akin to the baubles tossed in early Proteus
Orpheus' musical theme reflects its namesake and honors many of its special
guests. The krewe's 1,200 members will roll with local marching groups, dance
teams, and this year's celebrity monarchs: country star Brad Paisley and local
rockers Better Than Ezra (who will perform with krewe founder Harry Connick
Jr. at the Orpheus ball). Also look for actor Dominic Monaghan, who played the
hobbit Merry in Lord of the Rings. A first for a Mardi Gras parade is
a guest from the world of fashion-- designer Nicole Miller will appear as a
Theme: "Animation in the Cinema"
King: Louis Carl Gaudet
Queen: Kristin Mary Oddo
Throws: Bobble-head Zeus dolls, lighted beads, logo beads, flying discs, cups,
gold, silver and pink doubloons
For its 47th year of parading, the tradition-bound Zeus, which has captains
appointed for life and queens selected at birth, this year pays homage to another
grand legacy: animated films, especially Disney movies. Floats will represent
such classics as Superman, Fantasia and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
The family-friendly krewe also boasts 12 marching bands imported from other
states, ROTC units and dance teams from such local schools as Mt. Carmel, Ursuline
Academy and St. Mary's Dominican.
TUESDAY, FEB. 24
Theme: "Zulu and All the Characters We Know"
King: Gerard Johnson
Queen: Lisa Crinel
Throws: Zulu coconuts, beads representing the Zulu Providence Prince, clappers,
shakers, handkerchiefs, pimp hats, umbrellas, spears, tambourines, footballs,
cups, big medallion beads, bikini panties
While Zulu's cherished coconuts would make anyone's Mardi Gras day, there was
also heated competition for Zulu bikini panties last year; those return in 2004
by popular demand. Adding to this revered krewe's revelry are floats embodying
such characters as Winnie the Pooh and The Cat in the Hat. The Budweiser Clydesdale
horses are featured, along with seven other horse units, 21 marching bands,
the Original Pinstripe and Coolbone brass bands, eight dance troupes and six
Theme: "Sinatra and His Music"
King: Scott Sewell
Queen: Shana Ann Stumpf
Throws: Blue Dog doubloons, long krewe emblem beads, Frank Sinatra cups, moon
pies, peanuts, stuffed toys
With 500 members consisting of men, women and children, Argus this year puts
its considerable manpower behind a tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes, with floats representing
Frank Sinatra's timeless songs. As is tradition, famed artist George Rodrigue
and Sheriff Harry Lee will occupy their own floats. Members of the Louisiana
State University national champion football team will be honored, along with
grand marshals Sammy Kershaw and Roy Morgan. Twenty marching bands provide music
along with acts such as the crowd-pleasing Benny Grunch & the Bunch.
Theme: "The Winged World"
Throws: Rex pearl beads, tri-color beads, doubloons, stuffed jester doll, emblem
Rex's theme of "The Winged World" will bring, behind the King of Carnival's
float, a dazzling procession of winged creatures from mythology. Floats will
depict "Gryphon," "Quetzalcoatl," "Sea Sirens," "Halcyone" and "The Phoenix."
The marching band of Louisiana State University, the Golden Band from Tigerland,
will lead the parade, with nearly 20 other bands following in Rex's 123rd procession.
The popular stuffed jester doll returns for the second year and is sure to be
a much-demanded throw.
Theme: "Choctaw Salutes Southern Indians"
Chief: Scott M. Holt
Princess: Shannon Marie Holt
Throws: Logo beads, logo frisbees, spears, logo bags
Still going strong in its 69th year, Choctaw will pay homage to local Native
American tribes with floats honoring "Opelousa Indians," "Caddo Indians," "Tunica
Indians" and more. The krewe's 200 members will be accompanied by such marching
units as the George Washington Carver band.
Theme: "Choose Your Fantasy"
King: Kim Fernandez
Queen: Tiffany Fernandez
Throws: Collector's-edition "Spot Dogs" (dalmatians with Grela logo), krewe
cups, king and queen cups
Grela promises to wow the West Bank with a 150-unit parade that will include
stilt walkers, dune buggy and motorcycle crews, "Walking Heads," horse groups,
and floats invoking such fantasies as "Rags to Riches," "Triple Crown Winner,"
"Fantasia" and "Winston Cup Winner." The B-97 morning crew from WEZB-FM serve
as grand marshals, and members of the VooDoo Dolls dance team will ride on the
captain's float. Twelve bands -- some from as far away as Chicago and New York
-- will keep Grela rolling along.