Maybe you can tell me if the balding gentleman who looked just like Mayor Mitch Landrieu and was riding in the front of the NOPD horse contingent that started the Zulu parade was indeed our mayor. It was obvious he was not a skilled rider. If it was not Landrieu, he was certainly his double.
Your eyes did not deceive you. It was our very own Mayor Mitch Landrieu leading the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club down Jackson and St. Charles avenues on Fat Tuesday. I hope he won't be offended by your suggestion that he is not an expert equestrian, as this was not his first time in the saddle. He rode with the Zulu organization last year as well. Riding along with Landrieu was New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
The mayor didn't stay with the Zulu parade until the end. When the parade got to Gallier Hall, Landrieu dismounted and waited to toast King Zulu, Elroy A. James. Afterwards, the mayor sat in the reviewing stand to watch the Rex parade, which follows Zulu. When Hardy B. Fowler, this year's Rex, got to the reviewing stand, Landrieu toasted him as well.
As part of a tradition that began in 1875, on Lundi Gras Landrieu turned over the keys to the city to Rex, for one day only.
Landrieu isn't the first mayor to ride with Zulu. Former Mayor Ray Nagin also rode in the parade, but he liked wearing a costume. One year he dressed as a cowboy, and another year he was a gladiator.
After Mardi Gras, Landrieu was full of praise for the event that has been called "the greatest free show on earth."
"Simply stated, the Mardi Gras of 2012 rocked," the mayor said at a news conference. "It was a major success and a joyous occasion for almost all who attended."