Carnival is celebrated in cities around the globe, but in the United States, Carnival and Mardi Gras are synonymous with New Orleans. It's a season of parades, parties and events locals created for each other long before they attracted visiting revelers. One of the spreading traditions of local Carnival is the creation of hand-decorated throws. Each year more krewes introduce signature handmade items. Krewe members and riders, who already give so much to entertain us, spend more hours making unique items to share along the route. Such throws to watch for this weekend include decorated shrimp boots being introduced by the Krewe of Carrollton, peacock fans from Oshun riders and jeweled tomahawks being handed down by Choctaw riders. In Metairie, the women of Athena toss decorated fedoras, and Excalibur members offer decorated shields.
But there is much to treasure about just watching parades, including local marching bands making music and colorful floats illustrating fun and mythical themes. This weekend is packed with parades — with 11 krewes on New Orleans' Uptown route, parades Friday through Sunday on Jefferson Parish's Metairie route in conjunction with Family Gras, and the Mystic Knights of Adonis rolling as the lone West Bank parade Saturday.
Rex Duke, Gambit's Carnival expert, previews the first weekend of parades on the following pages. There is information on krewe royalty, parade themes, floats, throws and routes.
Enjoy the parades!
PRINTABLE ROUTE MAPS
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