Carnival begins with king cake vodka, celebrities and Crimes Against Nature



Krewe du Vieux members parade through the French Quarter.

King cakes hit shelves in area stores last week, but the first official Twelfth Night events are today. (Some revelers anxiously await the liquid alternative, King Cake Vodka). The first parade or procession of the Carnival season begins at 7 p.m. when the Phunny Phorty Phellows board a streetcar at the streetcar barn on Willow Street and head downtown.

Several krewes have made celebrity announcements. Patricia Clarkson will ride in Muses. Will Ferrell will rule as Bacchus. Bret Michaels and Cyndi Lauper will perform at the Krewe of Orpheus' Orpheuscapade. Endymion returns to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for its Extravaganza, featuring Maroon 5 and Big & Rich.

Krewe du Vieux will roll through the Marigny and French Quarter on Feb. 4. It just announced its monarch. Deon Haywood will rule as queen of a parade titled Crimes Against Nature. Haywood is the Director of Women With a Vision, a local grassroots organization dedicated to women's health, education and advocacy. The group advocated for changes to the state's arcane crimes-against-nature laws, covered in Gambit here and here.

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