The parade season starts even earlier than usual with the Super Bowl pushing many krewes' processions up a week. But that's just one week less to wait, according to Rex Duke™, Carnival's biggest fan.
Besides the advanced calendar, there are some route changes as well. The Krewe of Cleopatra moves to the Uptown route, so the first night of parades is a double-header with the Krewe of Oshun. The Krewe of Choctaw also parades Uptown, which is a fitting tribute to its founding 78 years ago at a social club located on St. Charles Avenue.
My previews include information about themes, royalty, throws, honored guest riders and more. Click here for parade route maps, and watch for my reviews after Carnival. Enjoy!
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25
Theme: The Children Are Our Future
Shango: Damon Payne
Oshun: Taisha Williams-Payne
Throws: peacock bracelets, lighted peacock necklaces, black and gold necklaces, bracelets and cowbells
The Rebirth Brass Band rides as Oshun's grand marshals, and some of the New Orleans Saints super fans, including Da Pope and Whistle Monsta, ride as special guests. The theme explores things that help children develop, and individual floats highlight "Education," "Music," "Sports," "Science," "Entertainment" and other topics.
Theme: Cleopatra Celebrates 40 Enchanting Years
Queen: Malinda Bertrand
Throws: crowns, medallion beads, light-up throwing discs, krewe cups
The all-female Krewe of Cleopatra crosses the river and parades on the Uptown route while celebrating its 40th anniversary. Floats will depict popular past parade themes including "If I Rule the World" from 1975, "Dreams of Conquest" from 1995, "A World of Fashion" from 1993 and 1990's "Let Me Entertain You."
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26
Location: West Bank
Theme: Adonis' Saturday Matinee
King: Kris Joseph Marcel Sr.
Queen: Amanda Lynn Bourg
Throws: krewe cups
On its 15th anniversary, the Knights of Adonis goes to the movies. Floats depict the movies Cleopatra and Mask, and there are floats about Hollywood, including one featuring paparazzi.
Theme: What Are You Afraid Of?
King: Tom D. "Silky" Sullivan
Queen: Tiffany Skyler Mohre
Throws: krewe logo magnets, medallion beads, footballs and large cups
The Krewe of Pontchartrain presents its traditional float quiz. Title cards are fill-in-the-blank, and viewers have to guess what sorts of things scare members of the krewe. Hints: Some might be afraid of an IRS audit, their mother-in-law or cockroaches. Also in the procession is the U.S. Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps from Annapolis, Md.
1 p.m. (follows Pontchartrain)
Theme: Avenues of America
Chief: John Beninate
Princess: Madison Paige Plumer
Throws: streetcar beads, plush tomahawks and spears, captain and chief's wooden nickels, theme wooden nickels
The Krewe of Choctaw parades on the East Bank for the first time, but it's a return to its roots in one way. The krewe was founded 78 years ago at a social club located on St. Charles Avenue. The theme celebrates famous streets, and floats feature Christmas on Canal Street, St. Charles Avenue and New York's Fifth Avenue.
Theme: My Way
King: Rey-Michael Olea
Queen: Megan Christine Beach
Throws: LED medallion beads, light-up Spartan shields, light-up glitter balls, glass beads, Spartan plush helmets
The Knights of Sparta salute Frank Sinatra, and floats are named for popular Sinatra songs including "Love and Marriage," "Stardust" and "Around the World." Blue anodized doubloons are a tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes. The procession includes the krewe's signature mule-drawn Spartan helmet, the mule-drawn king's float and extra units such as the marching group Roux La La.
Theme: Pygmalion Celebrates
King: Sidney Trouard III
Queen: Katie Bourque
Throws: plush jester dolls, light-up jester head lanyards, light-up medallion logo beads, krewe cups
The St. Augustine High School Marching 100 leads a procession celebrating the holidays. Floats depict Christmas, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. Last year, the krewe introduced its signature Pygmammoth float, and this year it introduces the Jester float, which is paired with signature throws.
Theme: Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler
King: John Louis Echeverri
Queen: Alexandra Elizabeth Pfefferle
Throws: theme cups, polystone medallion beads and doubloons
The Krewe of Carrollton celebrates good times. The theme is illustrated with floats about "Thrill Rides," "Cruising on the River," and "A Trip to Paradise."
Theme: King Arthur Colors His Kingdom
King: Michael A. Knight
Queen: Pam Dean Goddard
Throws: plush dragons, vinyl-covered plush softballs, captain's medallion beads, aluminum doubloons
The Knights of King Arthur present a full palette of colors. The black and gold float honors the New Orleans Saints, there's a movie-themed float saluting the silver screen and of course there is a purple, green and gold Mardi Gras float.
Theme: Thor Celebrates Louisiana
King: Randy Corass
Queen: Aimee Corass
Throws: long beads, krewe cups, plush footballs
Thor leads off the Metairie parade calendar. The procession features Louisiana customs, holidays and events. Floats depict Celebration in the Oaks, holiday bonfires on the levees, the Hot Air Balloon Festival and the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.