This photo of the Mystic Krewe of Druids' "EBT Card or Job" float was posted on Twitter.
The Mystic Krewe of Druids hit the Uptown parade route with the theme "Druids' Dilemmas" Wednesday night. The eighth float (pictured) was titled "EBT Card or Job," and it quickly drew attention on social media. EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards, or "Louisiana Purchase"
cards are used to deliver Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other public assistance benefits. The Louisiana Purchase card prop on the float was painted as belonging to recipient "Julie Nyx," referencing Wednesday's second parade, the Krewe of Nyx — and apparently its captain and co-founder, Julie Lea.
Other 'dilemma'-related float titles included references to all-women krewes ("Muses or Nyx"), drinking ("Jack or Beer") and sports — the "Paper or Plastic" float offered New Orleans Saints fans a choice between a paper bag marked "Aints" or a plastic bag for suffocation. Another float, with a roller coaster painted on its side, was "Lincoln Beach or Pontchartrain Beach." The Pontchartrain Beach amusement park opened in 1928 and closed in 1983. Lincoln Beach opened in 1939 to serve black New Orleanians; Pontchartrain Beach was not desegregated until 1964.
Satire has a long history and tradition in New Orleans' Carnival celebration. Some of the most famous iterations were 1870s parades mocking Washington D.C. politicians. The Mistick Krewe of Comus' 1873 parade "Missing Links to Darwin's Origin of Species" came during Reconstruction, and it featured the heads of Washington politicians on the bodies of bugs and other creatures.
Druids flips the tradition by not mocking those in power and privilege, instead focusing on those generally without power or means. But "Druids' Dilemmas" parade also isn't really satire. It seemed more like an exercise in trolling, with a secretive krewe stirring up crowds with provocative suggestions and incomplete thoughts.
Here are some of the reactions posted on social media. If you watched (or rode in, or marched with) Druids, what did you think?