Recently we have been reading about Mardi Gras 2008 and specifically the Endymion parade getting back to its so-called original route that being the area at City Park Avenue and Marconi Drive. Please inform New Orleans and the world what the real original route was.
It's been a while since Mardi Gras, but just so everyone will know for next year, I will tell them about the first Endymion Parade and its route.
The Krewe of Endymion first paraded on February 4, 1967. The parade commenced at 6:30 p.m. from Trafalgar Street and Desaix Boulevard and then turned right onto Gentilly Boulevard. It traveled to North Broad Street where it turned right again. The route led the krewe to Canal Street, left on North Rampart Street, right on Orleans Avenue, right on Royal Street and back to Canal Street where it made a U-turn at University Place so that the parade could go down St. Charles Avenue. At Gallier Hall, Mayor Victor Schiro welcomed Harry P. Rosenthal, the first Endymion. The Goddess, Mrs. Eliska Rosenthal, and her court were toasted at Gallier Hall. The krewe then moved around Lafayette Square to Camp Street, then to Poydras Street and down to the Mississippi River where the parade disbanded.
We were really glad to see a new Mardi Gras krewe breathe more excitement into our most wonderful celebration. The founder of the Gentilly Carnival Club " the charter name for the Krewe of Endymion " was Ed Muniz, a homegrown New Orleans boy who grew up near the Fair Grounds Race Course. Muniz considered Bacchus as well as Endymion as the Greek god that would represent the new krewe. Fate stepped in to help him decide. Muniz had been to the Fair Grounds and cashed a winning ticket. The horse's name was Endymion. Done deal.
On that memorable February evening, Endymion, the God of Youth, set out for the first time on the streets of Gentilly. The theme was 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and professional sports teams such as the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, Vikings and Patriots were depicted. The final float saluted the New Orleans Saints, a team still in the making.
The parade also included the Olympia Brass Band and convertibles that carried the officers and dukes. There was a team of cheerleaders who carried signs spelling out 'ENDYMION 1967." Guests in the parade were the Tulane University football coach Jim Pittman, Rusty Staub, a New Orleans-born pitcher for the Houston Astros, and local television and newspaper celebrities Wayne Mack and Buddy Diliberto.
Doubloons were a relatively new Carnival throw, having been introduced in 1960 by Rex. But even then, every krewe wanted to do something a little different. 'Tokens of youth" was the name given by Endymion to its doubloons, and the krewe had 100,000 gold anodized coins minted, each bearing the likeness of Babe Ruth.
The tableau presentation and supper dance were held in the Hall of Americas in the Jung Hotel on Canal Street, and it was a grand success. The society section of The Times-Picayune was full of praise and declared, 'A lusty and beautiful baby was born to the Carnival festivities Saturday night when the Krewe of Endymion presented its first Carnival ball."
In 1973, Endymion, like other krewes, was forced to change its route to comply with a new city ordinance that prohibited parading in the French Quarter. The route still began at Trafalgar and Desaix, but traveled to Gentilly and all the way down North Broad to Canal Street where it turned left, circled around Lafayette Square, went back to Canal Street to Rampart Street and the Municipal Auditorium.
Endymion changed its route several times after that, including 1979, when due to the strike by the New Orleans Police Department, the parade was held in Kenner. And finally in 1981, the Endymion Parade starting point was moved to Orleans Avenue.