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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Oshun and Cleopatra kicked off Uptown parade season

Posted By on Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 10:14 AM


click to enlarge Patricia Zaves reigned as Oshun.
  • Patricia Zaves reigned as Oshun.

The Krewe of Oshun kicked off the Carnival parade season on the Uptown route with a theme celebrating festivals, and the all-female krewe of Cleopatra followed with an animal theme and a host of marching groups, from scooter-riding Elvi to Sirens and Pussyfooters.

New guidelines for Orleans parades limit numbers of units both before the first float and between floats. Oshun's procession started with a Buffalo Soldiers horse-riding group and a row of seven youth dance troupes. Large high school marching bands from  St. Mary's Academy's marching band and Dr. Martin Luther King Charter Jr. Charter High School followed, and there also were sharp performances from S.B. Wright Charter High School, Cohen College Prep, and Langston Hughes Academy.

Many of Oshun's 18 floats are ridden by royalty, and Goddess Oshun Patricia Saves and (its king) Shango Julius Feltus looked resplendent in white costumes trimmed with gold and silver.
click to enlarge A giant crab perched on an Oshun float celebrating local food festivals.
  • A giant crab perched on an Oshun float celebrating local food festivals.

Theme floats featured a giant crab, a tomato, a woman with a pot of gumbo and a trumpeter to mark New Orleans food festivals. Essence Festival, French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival were mentioned by name. Floats were brightly painted, though some designs didn't match the float theme.

The procession also had a large group of baby dolls, and overall was well grounded in popular New Orleans celebrations.

The Cleopatra parade had a looser vibe, led by a few buggy groups racing their engines and filled with local marching groups, including stilt walkers, Krewe du Fleur, Marie Antoinette-esque Oui Dats, the Amelia EarHawts and the Woodlawn Lion Dance group with its multi-person Asian dragons zig-zagging down the route.
click to enlarge Cleopatra's title float announced the theme "Animal Kingdom."
  • Cleopatra's title float announced the theme "Animal Kingdom."

The Animal Kingdom theme was illustrated with giant animals, birds, insects and reptiles, and a few mythical creatures, such as dragons. There was a giant panda, zebra, alligator, crab, fish, raven, rooster, rabbit with a carrot, a hippo and a giant ant with white gloves. On one tandem float, a giant mouse float chased a black cat.

St. Augustine High School Marching 100 looked as sharp as ever at the front of the parade. Other bands included Roots of Music, McDonogh 35, John Ehret High School and George Washington Carver Junior Senior High School.
click to enlarge The Sirens marched in the Krewe of Cleopatra parade.
  • The Sirens marched in the Krewe of Cleopatra parade.

The rock band Pink Slip also performed on a trailer in the procession, but most floats also blasted tunes from speakers.

Many individual float costumes incorporated the krewe's Egyptian theme and riders wore lighted headdresses. Members tossed hula hoops, stuffed animals, Cleo tiaras and wands to parade watchers.

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