The satirical Krewe Du Vieux parade, followed by the krewedelusion procession, rolled through the Marigny and French Quarter neighborhoods on a pleasantly warm Saturday evening. The atmosphere was electrifying: diverse crowds of people gathered to cheer, drink and laugh at the cynical floats based on political, national and local topics. The Marigny was swarmed with artists, out-of-town family members, tourists and regular Joes.
It seems as though the parade gets bigger every year, and this year marked the 10-year anniversary for the DIY krewedelusion that started post-Hurricane Katrina. Though Krewe Du Vieux is considered the most adult parade of Mardi Gras, it didn’t stop young parents with strollers and children from attending.
The artistic Marigny parade-watchers always come through with the costumes, outfits and looks, making the experience of parade-watching feel like a DIY couture fashion show runway.
A lot of the floats carry over from previous years, like the TOKENS sub krewe with its larger-than-life smoking device. There was plenty of new humorous artwork as well — the most prominent pieces alluding to the NFL referee scandal. The rowdy parade-goers happily caught throws such as the logo stickers that read “NAH” instead of “NFL.” Some krewe members were dressed as clown referees and carried signs like those used by eye doctor. The signs read, “If you can read this, then you have better eye vision than all NFL referees.”
The theme this year was “The City of Yes, Yes, Oh God Yes,” referencing mayor LaToya Cantrell’s new “City of Yes” campaign. Local topics of city’s public works failures were prominent, like the crude image of a male sex organ depicting the Entergy shortage map, or a colorful, creative float with a bright, lit-up sign reading “Road Twerk NOLA” with gnomes as construction workers twerking instead of working. The controversial NOPD crime cameras were not spared either, with huge eyes on all sides of the float alluding to “the Big Brother is watching you.”
Religion — Catholicism, that is — wasn’t spared either. Half-naked men dressed as nuns in fishnets and habits were riding around bike carts and “lolli-popes” — lollipops with stickers of the Pope on them — were being thrown. While Muses’ throws are widely considered the most aesthetically rich and practical — shoes, makeup brushes, art pads, fans — there’s no denying that the Krewe Du Vieux throws are the funniest, punniest and crudest of them all. Unlike other big St. Charles Avenue parades, almost no beads were thrown.
Krewedelusion had a refreshingly strong theme of “Think globally, act locally.” Overall, their tone is more anarchist, and it is reflected in their DIY floats, which feature a lot more papier-mâché and have a lower budget in general.
The Trashformers, who were part of the parade, were collecting unwanted beads, plastic cups and other parade items and will use the parts for an art performance. This environmentally conscious move feels welcoming and something that’s long overdue in Mardi Gras and the city in general. But, as with everything in “Nawlins,” it’s a long, slow rollercoaster of a journey.