Hail, insatiable subjects! Does your cup runneth over with cups? Is your head bowing from the weight of the mighty long beads? Do doubloons fill your pantaloons? Never mind, for the time is here for your free refill from the fountain of festivities. I, Rex Duke™, chronicler of the magic and mystique of Mardi Gras, return to our city's fair streets to behold the grand promenades of Carnival's second weekend. Below, my scribes offer routes and regal details to guide your chariots to the final plethora of processions. In a future issue, I shall once again bestow my judgment upon the season's parades. Onward, Mardi Gras!
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Arch Druid: Secret
Throws: Doubloons, cups, light-up Druids beads, bobble-head tree Last year, the Krewe of Ancient Druids made fun of Mardi Gras itself, and it promises another satirical theme for 2005. The krewe prides itself on maintaining a traditional element of mystery, but it has modernized its costumes this year, as well as the Arch Druid and title floats. St. Augustine, Carver, Kennedy and Sarah T. Reed are among the 12 bands marching in the parade.
Theme: 'Childhood Dreams'
King: Les Falgout
Queen: Gail Morel
Throws: Stuffed logo moons, two types of medallion beads, light-up beads with LEDs, doubloons The Krewe of Morpheus has undergone a number of changes, including the addition of new members, a new title float and -- keeping with Morpheus' association with sleeping -- a new signature float: 'Sweet Dreams.' With more three-dimensional floats, expect more spectacle from this fledgling parade.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2
King: Brian Joseph Plauche
Queen: Rebecca Colleen Baresich Daniels
Throws: 'Fat Lady' beads, planet beads, theme squeeze bottles, theme cups, 11 different doubloons, light-up beads, mini bobble-head dolls, stuffed 'Fat Lady' dolls, keychains, Frisbees, coozies
The Krewe of Saturn typically has a satirical theme that's kept secret until parade time. This year promises to be no exception, though we're warned that jokes will be pointed: Saturn plans to call newsmakers out in floats having 'something to do with the funnies,' a representative says. Watch for local rock band Supagroup, who'll be shooting a video while riding in the parade.
Theme: 'World Festivals'
King: Michael Nicoll
Queen: Misty Corb
Throws: Cups, beads, doubloons Founded in 1974, the Krewe of Thor packs at least 40 riders on each float. To accommodate those numbers, most floats are superfloats; marching units appear between each float, and seven of those featured in this year's parade are high school bands from around Louisiana.
Throws: Hand-decorated glitter shoes, Muses dolls, sound-and-light super balls, Muses glass beads, multi-colored light-up medallion beads, make-up kits, shoe beads Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Muses this year honors Euterpe, the muse of lyric poetry, with special guests such as Charmaine Neville and the Go-Go's. In addition to the annual signature floats (including The Shoe and The Bathtub) and unusual groups (the Rolling Elvi), Muses this year welcomes the Baby Dolls, a revival of a historic Mardi Gras masking tradition that's now being organized by Antoinette K-Doe.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3
Knights of Babylon
King Sargon LXI: Secret
Throws: Fiber-optic medallion beads, jester beads, footballs, silver-colored doubloons, cups Babylon has teamed up with float designer Henri Schindler to redesign the parade's perennials, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and to debut new creations, including the Temple of Marduk and the Gate of Ishtar. Above all, Babylon promises a parade that will honor the mystique of Mardi Gras.
Floats: 15 floats
Throws: Embossed cups, krewe-emblem medallion beads, light-up beads, and doubloons This old-line krewe believes in the mystery of Mardi Gras, hence the secret theme and the king's hidden identity. Chaos' parade is typically traditional, with a satirical theme. Its floats -- like those of other old-line krewes, Proteus and Rex -- are built atop century-old wooden cotton wagons. Flambeaux carriers no longer light the entire parade, but units of men carrying the heavy torches dance in between the processional's 12 marching bands.
Theme: 'A Knight in Ancient Times'
King: William N. Bruhmuller
Queen: Sue Ellen Foreman
Throws: Captain and junior captain doubloons, special fiber-optic medallion beads, vinyl knights, light-up swords, turquoise blinking beads Serenaded by 11 marching bands, Excalibur's floats represent ancient societies such as those of the Aztec, Vikings and Druids, as well as Atlantis and ancient Africa, China and Rome. The captain's float this year represents The Lady of the Lake. Don't miss the surprise at the beginning of the parade, right after the small float of young King Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Queen: Secret until day of parade
Throws: Doubloons, Frisbees, tall fluted cups, flashing-light beads, pearly-white triple-medallion beads, fringe beads Hermes started in 1937, so it has the secrecy and elegance of the older krewes but the neon lights and glitzy throws of the newer ones. The score this year is Hermes' fringe bead, a boa-shaped bead made up of short strands of purple, green and gold beads. Kings, pages and riding lieutenants hand out purple and gold doubloons, while green and silver doubloons are thrown by most float riders.
Le Krewe D'Etat
Throws: Gargoyle medallion beads, gargoyle stuffed animals with light-up eyes, blinking-eye skeleton-head beads, light-up cubes with krewe logo inside, cups, doubloons of purple, green and gold No one is safe from the skewer that is the wit of Krewe D'Etat. Only the Dictator knows which of his subjects will find themselves lampooned on one of master float creator Henri Schindler's 21 floats. After last year's wide-ranging 'Malice in Wonderland' theme, anything's possible. Other parade highlights include bands from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, Warren Easton High School and Fortier High School as well as The Citadel Summerall Guard.
Theme: 'Worldwide City Tour'
King: Edward Joseph Ward Sr.
Queen: Gail Ann Cheramie
Throws: Eagle-with-lighted-eye beads, Frisbees with krewe logo, cups, squeaky eagle, theme footballs
The 29-year-old Krewe of Aquila doesn't have special celebrities because, a krewe insider says, 'every member is a celebrity in our parade.' This year's parade is 45 to 50 units long and features Dance Connection and Archbishop Blenk's dance team. The parade also features at least 10 marching bands, all from Jefferson Parish.
Knights of Jason
Theme: 'Great Moments in History'
King: Will Clark
Queen: Lisa Clark
Throws: Collectible specialty doubloons from the king, queen, maids and captain; KOJI (for 'Knights of Jason Inc.') beads and magnets; 20-inch KOJI & Mrs. KOJI stuffed dragon mascot; crest beads; Jason profile beads In its second year, the Krewe of Jason has former San Francisco Giant and Jesuit grad Will Clark as king. Look for the Hummers following the king's float, each loaded with additional throws that the float can't hold. This 43-unit parade includes six marching bands from around the area, including Jesuit in honor of Clark. The parade ends with the 'God Bless the USA' float, with red, white and blue throws.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5
Theme: 'A Whirl of Celebration'
King: Eugene Cottingham
Queen: Leonna Beatrice Cottingham
Throws: Lighted wands, stuffed bears with embroidered krewe logo, footballs with logo, doubloons, cups, coasters, stuffed animals, magnets, plastic champagne flutes This year, Carnival's oldest all-female krewe -- Iris dates back to 1917 -- takes revelers around the world in search of festive fun with the theme 'A Whirl of Celebration.' Floats depict India's Festival of Lights, Japan's Okunchi Festival and our Fourth of July, among others. Riders sport costumes matching their float's theme.
Location: West Bank
Theme: 'Movie Magic'
King: Herbert McNeal Williams Sr.
Queen: Ashley M. Williams
Throws: Lighted 'Jug Man' beads, top hats, canes, beads with logo, earrings, bracelets, key chains, flasks, vinyl footballs, beads, doubloons Rolling for the 36th year but with roots dating back to 1951, 'New Orleans' Most Talked Of Club' takes its West Bank followers to Hollywood with floats depicting movies such as The Terminator, Spider-Man, SpongeBob Square Pants, The Wizard of Oz and more. With an emphasis on local marching bands -- led by O. Perry Walker, Clark and McDonogh 35 high schools -- NOMTOC shows its dedication to local students by featuring krewe-sponsored scholarship recipients on its floats.
Theme: 'Tucks Premieres Big Easy SINema'
King: Dr. Brent Wallis
Queen: Betsy Barnes
Throws: Bobble-head dolls, plastic toilet seats, Frisbees, Christmas ornaments, Mad Hatters, Tucks playing cards, doubloons, squeaky toys, yard flags, beachballs, panties and bras Irreverent to the core since its 1969 inception, Tucks digs deeper into its bag of shocks this year with a theme of 'Big Easy SINema' -- a parade led by a depiction of its symbolic Friar Tuck leaving satisfied from the Canal Street brothel. Movie puns follow with titles such as 'Peter Pain and the Lost Boys' and 'My Fare Lady.' Also, the krewe insists that its streamer-spewing lead float is a bidet, not a toilet.
Theme: 'Endymion's Mythological Menagerie'
King: Harry Meisel
Queen: Christine Victoria Citron
Throws: Coozies with logo, vinyl footballs with logo, bobble-head dolls, frosted mugs, Frisbees, medallion beads, stuffed dragons, lighted beads The longest parade (Endymion stays on the streets for more than seven hours) with the longest float (the signature Capt. Eddie S.S. Endymion measures 240 feet), this superkrewe boasts Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei as its celebrity grand marshal this year. A Mid-City favorite, the parade annually turns the Orleans Avenue neutral ground into one of Carnival's biggest parties. Endymion is now in its 39th year and has more than 2,300 riders in a parade combining 140 units.
Theme: 'Happiness Is'
King: Jason Michael Kolb
Queen: Kristine Connell
Throws: Happy-face headbands, flyswatters, doubloons, cups, beads In its 33rd year, the all-female Isis shows Jefferson Parish its definitions of happiness, ranging from a wedding day and Christmas morning to spring break. With numerous local marching bands and dance squads in tow, Isis' theme is further carried out in sought-after throws such as this year's happy-face headbands.
Theme: 'Tales for Tots'
Emperor: Robert Bourgeois
Empress: Jillyn Bourgeois
Throws: Seven different doubloons, Napoleon medallion beads, lighted beads Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Napoleon moved from its regular Sunday time slot to Saturday so as not to compete with the Super Bowl. (It will move back to Sunday next year.) Otherwise, the krewe has maintained its love for tradition with its Emperor riding on a float drawn by six white horses and its maids gliding on specially designed horse-drawn carriages. Floats depict 'Humpty Dumpty, 'Jack and the Bean Stalk,' 'Mother Goose' and other childhood tales. A dozen marching bands will take to the streets, including two from Chicago and others from Mississippi and Texas.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 6
Theme: 'Events from the Past'
King: George Ellis Jr.
Queen: Reeves Ellis
Throws: Medallion beads, cups, doubloons, flying discs and stuffed animals This daytime parade celebrates its 56th anniversary, with floats aimed at reflecting its historical theme and featuring everything from the dinosaur era and Elvis Presley to the '50s and beyond. The 16 featured marching bands include out-of-state visitors and the Marine Corps Reserve band headquartered in New Orleans.
Theme: 'Thoth Travels Below the Equator'
King: Michael J. Saia
Queen: Melissa Ann Spera
Throws: Cups, doubloons, footballs, squeeze bottles, musical medallion beads Thoth has long been known as a neighborhood parade. Today, however, it boasts more than 1,000 riders on large floats. Since its' founding in 1947, Thoth's mission has remained the same -- to bring Carnival joy to the people of the Covenant House, the Lighthouse for the Blind, Children's Hospital, New Orleans Adolescent Hospital and the Poydras Home for the elderly. Music by 20 marching bands (six of whom are local) will fill the air.
Mystic Knights of Adonis
Theme: 'Adonis Visits Ancient Cultures'
Adonis VII: Ed Boudreaux
Queen: Chetta Boudreaux
Throws: Special 'Dixie Cups' tossed by the grand marshals, signature king and queen cups, multicolored cloisonne doubloons, stuffed animals, toys, beads With the Dixie Cups acting as grand marshals, the parade promises to be a kick. This krewe adds satire to its parade as with the Viking float 'To Sea or Not to Sea,' a China-themed float titled 'Confucius Says,' a tribute to Roman myths, 'When You Roam,' and others. In addition to the floats, the parade is composed of 50 units, including horse groups, dune buggies, dance teams and marching bands.
Theme: 'Just Another Super Sunday at the Movies'
King: Rick Polizzi
Queen: Melissa Swanner Pettavino
Throws: Special black doubloons from riding officers, plush 'Sebastian' alligators, Zapp's chips, Mid-City double-heart plush toys, Mid-City Man plush toys, Mid-City medallion beads and cups As the Super Bowl prepares to get underway in Jacksonville, Fla., Mid-City honors the day with a football-related theme. Floats will include 'The Wizard of Odds,' with the Lions, the Tigers and the Bears represented on a float about football betting. 'The Clash of the Titans' and 'Gone with the Fins' (as in Dolphins) also honor the theme. The annual Greatest Bands in America Showcase promises once again to be a Mid-City highlight.
Theme: 'Bacchus' Super Sunday'
Bacchus: Sean Astin
Throws: Hand-painted beads themed to the football teams and host cities they represent, special dated Bacchus medallion with the king looking over a football, two sets of blinking beads (one of which plays 'Mardi Gras Mambo'), fiber-optic logo hats, doubloons Paying tribute to the parade date on Super Bowl Sunday, each of the krewe's floats will represent a team and its hosting city, including 'Buffalo,' 'New Orleans,' 'Kansas City-St. Louis,' 'Seattle,' 'Oakland-San Diego' and more than a dozen others. A new signature float 'Hospitality Flavors of New Orleans' depicts images of Louisiana seafood, gumbo and other hospitality industry symbols. Other standards will return, including the Kong family float, the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales, 86 flambeau carriers and about 30 marching bands, including the famed St. Augustine.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7
Theme: 'Fables Famous and Familiar'
Queen: Secret until day of parade
Throws: Glass beads, gold and silver seahorse beads, red coozies, stuffed fish dolls The U.S. Marine Corps leads Proteus' 21 marching bands, 17 of which boast more than 100 members each. The krewe captain and 27 other masked horsemen add to the nighttime mystique -- along with 40 flambeaux carriers. Krewe members joke that their parade never has a flat tire -- that's because their floats are carried on old wooden wagon wheels built in the 19th century.
Theme: 'Dance of the Hours'
Throws: Cups, specially made beads, red, gold and green doubloons Celebrity monarchs include Toby Keith, the members of Sawyer Brown, Josh Gracin, the members of Better than Ezra and Earl Turner. (Alas, crooning krewe co-founder Harry Connick Jr. will be missed; he's performing in Australia). This year, after the signature Trojan horse float passes, look for seven specially made golden chariots to lead the captain's float. Thirty marching bands will pump up the tempo. Adding to the spectacle are costumed marchers with lighted 'electric butterflies' fluttering atop long poles.
Theme: 'Exotic Destinations'
King: Anton P. Yrle
Queen: Megan Siebenkittel
Throws: Cups, medallion beads, doubloons, flying discs, throw bags or cruisers, coozies Zeus is the only parade in Jefferson Parish with floats pulled by mules, including the king's float. Look for at least 14 marching bands, including two military units. Zeus' Queen (who hails from Mount Carmel Academy) and her maids (from Ursuline, Dominican and Cabrini high schools) will be accompanied by marching units from their all-girls schools.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8
Theme: 'Zulu Goes to the Movies'
King: Isaac Wheeler
Queen: Cheryln Wheeler
Throws: Zulu coconuts (scaled back to a lighter weight this year), back scratchers, doubloons, flying discs, tambourines and ambassador coins honoring the late Hilton White Zulu enters its 89th season by marking the return of the original Tramps walking group, which formed the core of the first Zulu parade and makes its return after a six-decade hiatus. The parade's 47 floats will advocate the cinematic theme that pays homage to such popular box-office fare as Harlem Nights, Casino, Blazing Saddles and Coming to America. Though there are 500 members, the riders number more than 1,000 and include grand marshal (and radio host) Tom Joyner and Miss Louisiana (and Grace King High School grad) Candace Stewart.
Theme: 'Thanks for the Memories'
King: Tommy Cvitanovich
Queen: Kaitlin Pastorek
Throws: Logo beads, cups, doubloons, Mardi Gras mints With 500 members, 20 double-decker floats and 33 total units, Argus will put on a memorable parade indeed. Guest riders include B-97 FM radio personality Kidd Kraddick as grand marshal, U.S. Sen. David Vitter as parade marshal and the cast of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This is Argus' 33rd anniversary, and the 21st year it has featured a king and queen.
Theme: 'Visions of Age-Old Cathay'
Throws: Theme-printed cups, striped cups, Boeuf Gras plush toys, long beads, doubloons In its 124th parade, Rex promises once again to be visually dazzling, as it portrays the history and mythology of ancient China (or 'Cathay,' as it was first known in the West). Lavish floats will honor the Peking Opera, the Monkey King, Kublai Khan and the Sacrifice of the Dragon Kings. Rex even offers links on its Web site (www.rexorganization.com) to help local students and others decode the symbolism on the floats.
Theme: 'Seventieth Anniversary'
Chief: Henry A. Landry Sr.
Princess: Melissa Ann Mora
Throws: Two limited-edition beads (one with an Indian head and Choctaw emblem, the other that looks like the krewe's brand new Chief's Float), Choctaw bobble-head dolls, 70th anniversary Frisbees, cups, toys, spears, beads Celebrating its 70th anniversary, Choctaw will take to the streets in all new floats designed by Phil Fricano Jr., including a krewe-owned Chief's float. Each of the floats will depict the theme of a past Choctaw parade; some are double deckers and others are about 52 feet long. In addition, the crowd will be entertained with marching bands including East St. John, West Jefferson and St. Helena high schools, jazz bands on trucks, motorcycle units and dance groups.
Theme: 'Great American Holidays'
King: Ricky Templet
Queen: Cristy Templet
Prince: Ryan Templet
Throws: A special Uncle Sam doll wearing a Grela medallion necklace; cups depicting the King, Queen and Prince; red, white and blue beads; stuffed animals; toys This year's parade is dedicated to the U.S. armed services, and the grand marshals are representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Float themes depict special holidays such as "Mardi Gras," "Christmas," "Valentine's Day," "Fourth of July" and "Cinco de Mayo." Stilt walkers from Disneyland, horse groups and dance teams will be on hand to entertain the crowd as well as marching bands from as far away as Chicago.