3 must-see Mardi Gras parades

Jo Walsh, Contributing Writer

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is like no other holiday. And to many Tulane students, it’s like Christmas morning. Students run around as if their heads had been chopped off. They search for outfits, buy accessories and well, spend around five days embracing everything Mardi Gras has to offer. 

I think it can be agreed upon that parades are an indispensable part of Mardi Gras. Beginning in February, these epic floats are filled with exclusive local groups that form a “krewe.” Thousands of eager individuals line up alongside the parade route hoping to catch beads and other trinkets. Each float is individualized and has its own unique “throw.” So if you’re like me and love Mardi Gras parades, then make sure to check out these three parades that you won’t want to miss.

Sophie Borislow

The Krewe of Muses

The Krewe of Muses, my personal favorite, is an all-female krewe of over 1,400 members who parade in Uptown New Orleans at night. They are recognized for their specialized “throw,” a colorful high-heel shoe covered in glitter. As the first all-women Mardi Gras krewe, their mission is to be a group that provides a sense of acceptance and admiration for feminity. Their name is inspired by nine of the daughters of Zeus, known as the Muses. Many centuries later, the Krewe of Muses celebrates these goddesses throughout Mardi Gras. 

Chances are, if you head over to this parade, you’ll hear individuals yell, “throw me something, sister,” to get their hands on a high-heel shoe or beads. The Krewe of Muses has grown so popular that they no longer take new members. While empowering femininity, the organization also supports the improvement of the New Orleans community. The Krewe of Muses ties every event they host — a parade or a “Thirsty Thursday” —  to an outreach opportunity for a charity. They have raised thousands of dollars for charities and continue to do so. So, head down to the intersection of Magazine Street and Jefferson Avenue at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16 to admire the Krewe of Muses’ extravagant floats. 

Krewe of Bacchus

Secondly, make sure you make your way to the Krewe of Bacchus parade on the Sunday before Fat Tuesday. In Greek mythology, Bacchus is known as the Greek god of wine and cheer. The inspiration for this krewe came from New Orleans business leaders who were passionate about enlivening Carnival season. They were successful because Bacchus left a dazzling mark on carnival history. 

Made up of 1,500 members as well as 33 super-floats, the parade appears never-ending. The first float of Bacchus, the King’s Float, is where you will find the “King of the parade” or the “Mardi Gras King.” Every year since 1969, a celebrity is chosen to take reign as King of Bacchus. Last year, the King of Bacchus was actor Josh Duhamel, and this year, actor and comedian Adam DeVine will take the throne. If you’re lucky enough, you could catch the classic throw from the King’s Float, a doubloon with the image of DeVine on both sides of it. 

This krewe rolls at 5:15 p.m., beginning on the corner of Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street. You won’t want to miss out on the Bacchasaurus and Bacchagator, two of Bacchus’ signature floats. 

Krewe of Zulu

Last but not least, make sure to go check out the Krewe of Zulu parade on Tuesday morning, Feb. 21, beginning on South Claiborne Avenue and Jackson Avenue at 8 a.m. The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, a historically Black krewe, has rolled in Mardi Gras parades since 1909

Their signature “throws” are painted coconuts and every year, the members elect the krewe’s king. In 1949, Louis Armstrong had the honor of taking reign, which pushed the Zulu organization towards national popularity. A typical Zulu member dresses in a straw skirt, a jacket and a hat. They also paint their faces black to honor their descendants and Africa’s warriors. I encourage you to head down to South Claiborne on Mardi Gras to embrace and celebrate the riders on these extravagant floats. 

To find out about more parades rolling, download the WDSU Parade Tracker App in order to view a list of maps, schedules and potential weather disruptions.

Leave a Comment