Carnival colors will include a little extra gold and a lot more black than usual this season. A busy weekend of parades gets rolling right on time but finishes early as New Orleanians consider titles beyond king and queen. There will be plenty of special throws, and Rex Duke™ hopes you are among the season's top receivers.
My parade previews for the first weekend include information on krewes, floats, bands, honored royalty, guest riders, routes and more. Enjoy.
Location: Uptown 6 p.m.
Theme: What a Laugh
King Shango: Cordell Chambliss
Queen Oshun: Karen Watson Lee
Throws: Black and gold slap bracelets, light up fleur de lis beads, beverage container beads
Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh? Oshun will celebrate popular comedy shows and comedians from the Honeymooners and Carol Burnett to In Living Color. The procession includes four mounted riding groups, and there will be a contest to name the best marching band in the parade.
Location: West Bank 6:30 p.m.
Theme: Famous Words
Cleopatra: Arleen O. Pizani
Throws: Cleopatra dolls, slap bracelets, purses, light-up cups and yard dogs
This quotable parade will feature the famous phrases of Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe, fictional characters such as Goldilocks and the sayings of Mardi Gras.
Location: Metairie 7 p.m.
Theme: Knight Time Stories
King Arthur Dr. Leo Pia
Queen Guenevere: Brittany Falgout
Throws: Squeezable stress-relieving knights, youth-size krewe insignia T-shirts, crowns and medieval veils
The krewe from Camelot celebrates nursery rhymes and children's tales. Maids will ride on floats decorated for the Wizard of Oz, Dr. Seuss and Little Red Riding Hood. Krewe members include Merlin and Morgana characters, Knights of the Round Table and Ladies of Avalon. The Budweiser Clydesdales will be featured in the procession as well.
Location: Metairie 7:30 p.m.
Theme: Library of the Imagination
King: David Campbell
Queen: Jessica Lynn Murray
Throws: Bobblehead figures
A host of popular children's tales will ride on the shoulders of Atlas floats. Spectators will see Jack and the Beanstalk, Robin Hood, Cinderella, Treasure Island and The Tortoise and the Hare.
Location: West Bank 10:15 a.m.
Theme: Choctaw Celebrates its 75th Anniversary
Chief: Guy Laigast
Princess: Celeste Margaret Laigast
Throws: 75th anniversary Frisbees, plush hatchets, red, blue and silver doubloons
Choctaw celebrates its 75th anniversary with floats noting important historic dates and events. One float depicts Santos Cafe, where the idea for the krewe was hatched. Other floats mark the first Sugar Bowl (won by Tulane) which happened the same year the krewe was founded. Students from New Orleans Charter Science and Math school will march with special anniversary flags.
Location: West Bank 10:45 a.m.
Theme: Adonis' Mythology
King: Anthony "Nino" Clark
Queen: Jan M. Wilson
Throws: The krewe throws minted aluminum doubloons for the first time
Adonis is pretty and witty this year as floats put a funny twist on myths. Some titles include "Love: It's a Myth" and "It's Greek to Me-thology." The celebrity grand marshal is David Bologna, star of the current Broadway show Billy Elliot. The Big Easy Roller Girls join the procession.
Location: West Bank 11:30 a.m.
Theme: Alla Celebrates Louisiana Sports
King: Tommy Schaff
Queen: Michaela Leman
Throws: Alla logo plush footballs, baseballs and basketballs, plush spears, fleur de lis beads
Alla looks awfully prescient choosing a sports theme for this parade. The Super Bowl float will feature past championship games held in New Orleans. Other floats will honor the Saints, Hornets, Zephyrs and the Zurich Classic. Steven Seagal will ride as celebrity grand marshal, and the event will be filmed for his cable show Steven Seagal: Lawman.
Location: Uptown 2 p.m.
Theme: Can You Name That Idiom?
King: Alan Albert Aparicio
Queen: Ashley Anne Hebert
Throws: Large cups, black and gold footballs, fleur de lis beads
The Krewe of Pontchartrain marks its 35th anniversary with some puzzling wordplay. Float decorations will be a sort of pictorial quiz and the answers will be odd turns of phrase such as "Drinks are on the House," "Shooting Fish in a Barrel," "Fish or Cut Bait" and "Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk."
Location: Metairie 6 p.m.
Theme:What Time Is It?
Emperor: Ralph Goodman
Empress: Katelyn Roche
Throws: Light-up jester heads and Caesar busts, plush tigers and spears
Caesar scheduled a theme about timeliness. Floats will depict Gametime and Half-time as well as other choice moments. Others include Carnival Time and "The Most Wonderful Time of Year." Jamie Lynn Spears will ride as an honored guest. Other highlights include the neon lighting on royal collars and headpieces and fiber-optic lighting on the signature seven-headed Hydra float.
Location: Uptown 6 p.m.
Theme: Sparta's Realm of Rhyme
King: Announced day of parade
Queen: Kathaleen Mary Mercer
Throws: Plush Trojan horse dolls, plush Spartan swords, light-up necklaces
Children's stories and nursery rhymes will make this procession a light-hearted affair. Mother Goose, The Wizard of Oz and Charlotte's Web are among the stories animated on floats. Honored riders include a prince and princess from the cystic fibrosis community. The krewe introduces a new mule-drawn minifloat with a Spartan helmet. The king's float is also mule drawn.
Location: Uptown 6:45 p.m.
Theme: Mardi Gras Past and Present
King: Brian Bruno
Queen: Chantelle Bruno
Throws: Light-up gel medallions, toy sculptor's hammers, captain's burgundy doubloons
Pygmalion carves out a salute to the gods of Carnival. Mardi Gras fans will recognize deities and figures including Thoth, Poseidon, Zeus and Orpheus.
Location: Uptown 11 a.m.
Theme: It's a Small World
King: David M. Bruce
Queen: Rachel Celeste Cuccia
Throws: Jester hats, fleur de lis beads, black and gold doubloons
Follow Carrollton on a world tour. Floats highlight the attractions of Japan, China, Germany, Spain, Australia and Cajun country. Krewe members riding on horseback will dispense special black and gold doubloons.
Location: Uptown noon
Theme: What a Long Strange Trip It's Been
King: Toby Lefort
Queen: Adlea "Tookie" Foret
Throws: Dragon and King Arthur medallion beads, plush dragons, limited supply of black and gold fleur de lis doubloons.
King Arthur works some Woodstock magic with its parade. The title isn't from the legendary concert, but float titles will match famous songs from the event with fairy tales and children's stories. Thus Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz gets "A Little Help From My Friends." Mary Poppins is serenaded as "Proud Mary."
Oshun, 6 p.m. Friday
Sparta 6 p.m. Saturday
King Arthur noon Sunday
(West Bank Map)
Cleopatra 6:30 p.m. Friday
Choctaw 10:15 a.m. Saturday
Adonis 10:45 a.m. Saturday
Alla 11:30 a.m. Saturday
Excalibur 7 p.m. Friday
Atlas 7:30 p.m. Friday
Caesar 6 p.m. Saturday
Pontchartrain 2 p.m. Saturday
Pygmalion 6:45 p.m. Saturday
Carrollton 11 a.m. Sunday